The Cottage and Hurley to close in Laguna

After nearly 50 years in business, The Cottage will close its door after the property was sold.

"We just have to get through this and finish," said owner Jennifer McCulley, who has owned the restaurant for the past 12 years and run it with her sister, Julie McCulley.

Jennifer McCulley hopes the last day of business will be Dec. 26, but they are still negotiating that, she said. It could be mid-December, she said, adding that the sale is still in escrow.

The new owners — she was mum on their names — will continue to use the space as a restaurant, McCulley said.

"They are not coming in to rip [The Cottage] apart ...They like the historical element," she said, adding that she heard various things about the new restaurant, but wasn't sure about its new concept.

The Cottage has been around since 1964, McCulley said.

Prior to that, it was two small restaurants, and before the 1950s, it was a house, she added. About 36 people work at The Cottage, which serves 400 to 500 people on the weekends — more in the summer — with its American fare for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

"Everyone knows, and they've known for a while," she said. "Honestly, I'm not sure it's sunk in yet. Next week will be a little tougher now that everyone is talking about it...."

McCulley found out Oct. 1 there was a deal in place and was offered to match it, but it was "way out my price range."

As for life after The Cottage, McCulley isn't too sure what she'll do next. One thing is for sure: She won't be in a shopping center.

"I've been here for so long — half of what makes it fun is where we are," she said. "I don't want to be the breakfast place in the strip mall."

The restaurant will host a party to coincide with Art Walk Thursday. Beyond that, it depends on their final date, she said.


Hurley to close

Meanwhile, the downtown area is losing Hurley's shop, 225 Forest, which will close Dec. 31.

The company issued a statement regarding the closure.

"We regretfully announce that we will not (be) renewing our contract for the lease at 225 Forest. The last day of business will be Dec. 31," Bob Hurley, chief executive and founder, said in a statement. "We're immensely appreciative of the Laguna community for their support over the past four years.

"We fully intend to remain part of the community through our close retail partner, Hobie, and our commitment to art and opportunities for youth are as steadfast as ever. We look forward to many more creative endeavors with the Hobie team and the community in the months and years ahead."

The shop opened in the summer of 2009, with the concept being "a Laguna-inspired collective brand experience based on art and customization," Evan Slater, senior vice president of marketing, said by email.

As for a reason, the company declined to comment further.


Tuvalu to grow

One shop is expanding: Tuvalu, the home furnishings and accessories shop. Partner Lauri Alter said Tuvalu will host a grand opening of its expanded Tuvalu Design Center on Hospitality Night Dec. 7.

The new design center will offer custom hardwood flooring created by the company, surfaces such as marble and granite, a line of coastal inspired tile and hand-painted tiles from Mexico, as well as window treatments and custom design services.

Tuvalu took over the former Lloyd's Cigar and Fine Tobacco space next door, which shuttered about a month and a half ago, Alter said, who didn't know why.

"We've been kind of watching for [a place to expand]," Alter said. "And it kind of so happened he moved out and we jumped on the opportunity and [have been] working on updating the environment."

The space that previously housed the design center in Tuvalu will be converted into more retail space, offering a line of bedding and throws. Both are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; Tuvalu is at 295 Forest Ave.

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