By Jason KUROSU
The past year has seen some notable Montrose restaurants change ownership, some with less certain futures than others.
The Rocky Cola Café, which enjoyed popularity and regular patronage at the corner of Honolulu and Verdugo for 25 years, has been undergoing renovations since its closure at the end of 2012. Jeffrey Williams, who operates Montrose’s Black Cow Café and Star Café as well as Clancy’s Crab Broiler and Jax Bar & Grill in Glendale, has applied for permits with the city, including a liquor license, for a restaurant named Bluejeans. It is unclear exactly what style of restaurant Bluejeans will be, but the application for a liquor license could mean an establishment catering more to nightlife.
Al’s Delicatessen has also been under construction for much of the past year. It is slated to become Seasoning Alley, a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. There is no set date for Seasoning Alley’s opening.
Polkatots, a cupcake shop that closed in July, will be re-christened as Benitoite, a restaurant specializing in California cuisine. Owner and La Cañada resident Armen Rostomian has served as a professional cook at several prominent restaurants, but Benitoite will be the first business he has owned and operated. The City of Glendale approved Benitoite’s application for a conditional use permit to sell beer and wine in December.
While some of the proposed establishments seem to be taking a long time to move into their new digs, Basin 141 further west on Honolulu Avenue appears to be thriving. Known back in the day as Barru, then Fat Dog, Basin 141 opened in October and has been described as a gastropub with a broad selection of craft beer and interesting, fun fare.
With a reputation as a dining destination continuing to grow and an economy that is steadily improving, Montrose seems ready – and eager – to accommodate these new dining establishments.