July 29, 2014 – Break out the poodle skirts! Fifties-style Googie Grill, the Monterey Bay area’s newest retro restaurant, is set to open next week near the busy intersection of Del Monte Ave. and Canyon del Rey in Seaside. Those nostalgic for comfort food, drive-ins and diners, as well as architecture buffs, will enjoy the homespun breakfasts and lunches; dinner service will follow in a couple of weeks.
Have you heard the saying – the devil is in the details? The phrase popped into my head when I visited Googie Grill. It means that even the tiniest components are crucial to the grand design. At every turn, there are carefully curated details to note at this soon-to-open eatery, elements that complement the architecture of the original building, commemorate their family, honor their community, and celebrate local food producers.
Veteran restaurateur Jack Hakim—who has previously owned Scandia and The Avenue in Carmel and has worked in several of the peninsula’s finest dining establishments, such as The Sardine Factory, Pacific’s Edge and The Lodge at Pebble Beach—has spent the past year transforming his vintage 1950s building into a unique restaurant. Hakim credits Wendell Montes for helping navigate the City’s Board of Architectural Review and says that the project couldn’t have come to fruition without the assistance of Duke Kelso Construction, Glenn Warner Architecture, and many others.
“This,” he reveals, gesturing broadly around the newly renovated space, “all of this is for them…for the girls, my daughters, Jennifer and Lisa.”
His daughters—Jennifer Kadosh and Lisa Allen—designed the interior and created the menu. Kadosh selected colors, upholstery, and other particulars to ensure that the renovations matched her father’s vision of paying homage to the structure of the building.
“The building inspired Dad,” Kadosh recounts. “The structure, the columns, the glass all got me researching Googie architecture.” Googie architecture features modern materials and geometric shapes. “We wanted to create a restaurant around the style,” Kadosh continued.
But the characteristic angled walls of Googie design are not visible from the outside. Hakim confirmed, “To see the Googie, you have to step inside the Googie.”
Allen crafted the menu items, pairing dishes with names that are meaningful to their family. For instance, there’s the Querida Corned Beef Hash named for their mom. And all of the granddaughters have dishes bearing their names: Bella’s Breakfast Sandwich; Olivia’s Old-Fashioned Oatmeal; Queen Ava’s Benedict; Savannah’s Biscuits and Gravy; and Hailey’s Comet, a hearty combination platter of two pancakes, two eggs, and two meats.
Hakim characterizes the Googie food offerings as American comfort food with a twist to make it modern. “Comfort food is making a comeback,” he asserts. “When economic times are tough, people like to eat comfort food.” Googie’s versions will be high-quality made with fresh ingredients, including Glaum eggs from Aptos and ACME beans from Seaside’s local coffee powerhouse.
You’ll find traditional breakfast foods along with hot sandwiches and exotic sandwiches. Kadosh mentions Frikadeller, traditional Danish meatballs, that they’ve included on the menu to honor a lifelong friend of Hakim. “The menu reflects our tastes and style—and my dad’s experiences,” Kadosh said.
Googie Grill’s menu items will fall in the $8-$18 range. Beer and wine will be poured during lunch and dinner service.
Ray Kreik will manage operations along with Kadosh and Hakim’s former Scandia chef, Tedulo Pinto, will man the kitchen.
Local artist Dan Herron has created a colorful multiple-paneled mural that borders the top edge of the dining room. The paintings depict iconic central California spots from Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge to San Francisco’s Golden Gate. There’s even Herron’s Googie with a classic 50s ride parked in front. So, when you step into the dining room, be sure to look up.
Hakim, Kadosh, and Allen aim to have the Googie attract locals, tourists, students, and workers alike. “Anyone interested in fresh, delicious comfort food can find something they’ll love here.”
Googie Grill – 1520 Del Monte Blvd. Seaside – www.googiegrill.com