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Commission OKs pizzeria in former rug store space

The Laguna Beach Planning Commission unanimously approved the restoration of a Ocean Avenue building that will house a casual family-style pizzeria.

Commissioners on Wednesday OKd design review, a conditional use permit and coastal development permit for Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria and Bar to move into the ground level of 222 Ocean Ave. The restaurant would have 126 seats, a children’s menu and permission to serve beer and wine. Dom DeMarco’s also operates a Las Vegas location.

Former occupants of the space include Big Dog Sportswear and Sirous & Sons Rug Gallery, the rug store in which former manager Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan allegedly committed multiple sex crimes against women.

The two-story building has an apartment on the upper floor, which will remain, Planner Monica Tuchscher said.


The Heritage Committee voted 8-0 in November to place the building on the city’s Historic Register with an E-rating, exceptional, per the applicant’s request. As part of the building’s rehabilitation, it will be returned to its 1952 Spanish colonial style.

Planning commissioners requested staff to review the feasibility of removing three of four ficus trees that front the building. Commissioner Robert Zur Schmiede called the trees “gargantuan.”

The City Council needs to give final approval for the project.


—Bryce Alderton