9/25/2012 01:13:00 PM

Michael's Santa Monica "Reinventing" Itself With New Look, Menu

Whoo-ee, what a week for the venerable biggies. Spago reopened with a whole new look and menu. Campanile announced it will be closing. And now Michael's, Michael McCarty's longstanding Santa Monica restaurant, a game-changer if there ever was one, announced it will start making renovations in mid-October. McCarty says it's a reinvention to go with the times. And indeed, it is time.

"I am redesigning, rebranding, and evolving it into a modern-day, moderately priced American/Californian brasserie," he says. "Michael's will continue our world-renowned reputation of farm-to-table, sustainable, tasty, impeccably cooked New American Food, with great service, all set in our wonderful garden setting surrounded by impeccable contemporary art. But, we are making BIG changes!"

Stew on this a bit: McCarty’s Santa Monica restaurant, which opened in 1979, was farm-to-table before the term even germinated in anyone’s mind. While most restaurants at the time were classically French, it was one of the most progressive restaurants of its time, housing chefs like Peel, Silverton, Jonathan Waxman and Ken Frank. Before he became known for a burger, Sang Yoon helmed the stoves here. In 1989, McCarty opened a Michael's in Manhattan, which is still going strong today.

But while the food has recently been solid in Santa Monica, the space has been in need of a fresh look for quite some time. Some of the ottomans in the bar have cigarette burns that could be from last night, or maybe from the last time you could actually smoke in Santa Monica. The patio, however, is still one of the loveliest in town, but needed to contemporize. The restaurant just needs new life.

With that, McCarty explains that chef John-Carlos Kuramoto, a Zagat 30-Under-30 chef, will still helm the kitchen, creating an all new menu. The garden will be reconfigured and re-landscaped, there will be new furniture and more seating. The bar area will also get a new look with high-top tables and a communal table. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The restaurant isn't closing per se, but the new menu will launch in October with renovations to take place shortly after. Look for an all new Michael's by the end of the year.

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