Homie evolves, Mexican empire builder, remodeling blues, and Rosecrans after the Arclight

Nomad Eatery Chef-Owner Scott Cooper with General Manager Elysia Lemberis. Photo by Richard Foss

Betting on Hermosa: Unless you spend much time in Torrance or Harbor City, you probably haven’t heard of Tacos El Goloso. That mini-chain just doubled in size with an unusual strategy – they will now have two locations in Hermosa Beach. One is on PCH next to Baran’s 2239, the other the Amigo’s Tacos on Pier. It’s unusual to have two locations less than a mile from each other, but it’s probably a sensible strategy because the Pier location will serve downtown while PCH serves passing traffic and the wider area. They specialize in birria and also offer the thick quesadillas called mulitas and crisp tacos called vampiros, not items found at many other places in the area. I presume the tacos are large, since the restaurant’s name means “The Glutton.” I’ve heard that the Downtown location will have burgers and other items as well, and presume they’re just as generous…

Change starts at Homie: After two years in Downtown Manhattan Beach, Homie has changed hands, though you won’t see a lot of changes immediately. New owner Alexa Altamura will leave it open under the same name through summer, with a slow transition to a new identity as an Italian-style coffeehouse and wine bar serving the Venetian tapas called cicchetti. Alexa plans to increase their operations from four days a week to seven, and to open earlier so more people may enjoy their breakfasts. The changes will accelerate and the name will change this fall, when a deli will open in the rear area. Despite some reports to the contrary, the new management will honor previously issued gift cards, but there may be a delay because the system that tells them how much each one is worth had a software hiccup. This is a gracious move, since some other places under new ownership pretend similar cards don’t exist…

Coming attractions: The Cantonese restaurant that will soon open in Redondo has a well-established clientele, though they are 1,459 miles away. Jiayuan Dumpling House is relocating from Lethbridge, a medium-sized city in southern Alberta, Canada. Their specialties there were handmade stuffed dumplings, and given the name I’d expect that they’re sticking with that idea. The new location is next to Riera’s Deli, which will give you two reasons to visit that part of South Redondo… Another soon-to-open place is the Pita Café on Artesia, which will offer Arabic and Persian fast food. The owners said they are only waiting for permits, and may start serving as soon as this weekend if they get them fast enough…

Three renovations complete, one to go: Zane’s recently reopened after major remodeling, and reports are mixed. A reliable source reported that the décor is nicer and the new furniture is more comfortable, but the carpeted floor has been replaced with hardwood, which looks good but has affected the acoustics. Carpets in a restaurant are a high maintenance item, so I understand why they would make the change, but it often has sonic consequences… Dominique’s Kitchen has also remodeled, and the new look is dramatically different. The space is more contemporary and less cluttered, the colors cooler, and it looks great. My wife and I went there and found the food to be as remarkably good as ever. They have resumed indoor service and also are continuing their Wednesday to-go dinners, so pandemic hermits may still dine in style… The Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors in Manhattan Beach should be open by the time you read this, but I haven’t seen the interior yet. Based on what I can see through the mail slot, it doesn’t look like a big change… Meanwhile, the Manhattan House just closed for renovation, which is odd timing – it would have seemed to be more sensible to close when they couldn’t serve customers. I’m sure there’s a good reason, I just can’t fathom what it is. The sign on the door promises reopening in a few weeks…

Mysterious delays: In a column in November of last year I referred to the Highland Avenue location of Good Boy Bob coffee roasters as soon to open. It’s rather strange that I’m still referring to it that way, but they’re still not open, and the company’s PR rep will only say that they don’t have a firm date yet. They’re at least communicating, which some other places aren’t. The Rex Steakhouse in Redondo was scheduled to open in October, and has shifted their estimate a few times since then. They had sent updates, but I haven’t heard from them since February and they’re not responding to emails, which is not a good sign… Anybody know what is happening there?…

Becoming the star of the show: Nomad Eatery has opened on Rosecrans, and they’re serving the best food of Chef Scott Cooper’s career. The food is inspired by his backpacking trips through Southern Europe and includes some Middle Eastern touches. When he came through the dining room to talk with customers, I asked how the downturn in office space occupancy was affecting him. He responded by pointing at the shuttered Arclight Cinema across the plaza and saying, “We can’t make it on walk-by traffic here, nobody can. We have to become dining destinations.” I thought of his comment a few days later when it became official that the Arclight wouldn’t reopen. Some Rosecrans Avenue eateries will close, and I predict that the ones that had a business model geared to corporate catering and fast lunches for office workers are goners. The ones that provide a fine experience at a fair price should still be able to compete with the PCH and Downtown restaurants. As summer traffic clogs the downtowns of all the beach cities, the easy access and plentiful parking in this area may make local diners cast their eyes to the neighborhood…

Slowing down and enjoying life: Dream Dinners, a West Torrance concern that helps families create and package home cooked meals, is hosting one of the most unusual fundraisers I’ve ever seen. On April 25, the drive-through charity benefit will sell you three meals for $50, with a portion of the proceeds going to support retired racing greyhounds from Tijuana. I didn’t know that there were still dog races at Caliente, and hadn’t wondered where the dogs go when it’s time for them to have a well-deserved rest. Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption finds them loving homes, where they may presumably saunter around the house and yard at their preferred speed. Visit Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption on Facebook for more information – deadline for orders is May 23, and when you stop by to pick up your meal, take some time to pet a dog or two…

Do You Feel Lucky?… Mama Terano, Chef Robert Bell’s restaurant in Rolling Hills Estates, has a promotion like nothing I have seen before: at 7 PM on Monday evenings, the manager will pull a table number from a hat, and everything they have ordered up to that point will be free. It’s valid for parties of up to six people, and I’ll be interested to hear whether families start coming in at 6:45 and are in a hurry to order. It does sound like a reason to decide to dine there on what is usually the slowest night of the week…

In closing: Have you seen a new culinary business that I haven’t heard about, a local event either live or virtual? You can reach me at richard@richardfoss.com… ER

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Written by: Richard Foss

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