The Cottage sells wares; Urth to move in

The "we're open" sign still hung in the window, but any customer entering in search of a meal would have been out of luck.

The Cottage Restaurant was open for business Friday, but it wasn't serving eggs Benedict, a Cottage California melt or pasta Catalina. Instead, customers strolled around the once-quaint restaurant picking out deals as owner Jennifer McCulley sold everything that wasn't bolted down.

"It is [hard], but I think we're at a point now where we're OK with it," said Julie McCulley, Jennifer McCulley's sister, who helped run the restaurant. "It was [hard] at first, but now we're ready."

The tables and chairs were stacked in the yard, along with kitchen utensils and every type of pot, pan, plate and cup. All wore price tags. Salt and pepper shakers lay in a box still holding various amounts of their seasonings.

Inside, no decorations adorned the walls, the kitchens were stripped bare, and what was left of the food — oversized cans of tomato puree and olives, tubes of sauce mix and bottles of table salt, along with about a dozen bottles of wine — all had a price.

Julie McCulley said she wasn't keeping any special items.

"We're pretty much selling everything," she said. But her sister was keeping an infant's highchair.

The Cottage held its last hurrah on Dec. 26 after nearly 50 years of feeding Laguna Beach residents and visitors its American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Jennifer McCulley has owned the restaurant for the past 12 years. She was forced to close when the property was sold.

McCulley had to be out of the property by Monday.

The new owner of the historic landmark is Los Angeles-based Urth Caffé, a coffee and tea shop that specializes in organic, free-trade products. The company's representatives couldn't be reached for comment.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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