Mike Hale, The Grub Hunter: Googie Grill goes ‘Jetsons’ in Seaside
By Mike Hale
The Grub Hunter
POSTED: 05/06/14, 12:01 AM PDT |
SEASIDE >> Googie is a funny-sounding, vowel-draped word that has nothing to do with a search engine (it’s pointless and probably illegal to Googie someone). And it’s not another word for baby talk, or a synonym for mucus, or the name of an outcast Teletubbie.
Googie is the exaggerated modern architecture seen in the coffee shops and bowling alleys of the 1950s and 1960s, defined by upswept roofs, geometric shapes, dramatic angles and a certain space-age, gee-whiz element (think “Jetsons” or Disney’s Tomorrowland).
An intriguing new restaurant in Seaside will open in June as a casual neighborhood eatery that promises to recall the Googie era in fun, engaging ways. The Googie Grill at the “entrance” to Seaside (1520 Del Monte Blvd.) will offer simple comfort food (burgers, fries, wood-fired pizzas) with modern twists in an upbeat, contemporary setting.
Longtime, long-retired local restaurateur Jack Hakim (with 50 years in the game, owning Scandia and The Avenue in Carmel, and working as a server at some of the Monterey Peninsula’s finest restaurants, including The Sardine Factory, Pacific’s Edge and The Lodge at Pebble Beach) has turned a unique 1950s building he owns into a new venture.
Hakim has spent the last year renovating the Seaside spot, formerly Phat Burger.
“The building itself inspired me,” Hakim said. “The tilted walls and windows, the geometric angles. I wanted to create a restaurant around it.”
The whole project is a family approach. Hakim will oversee the new eatery while giving his daughter, local teacher Jennifer Kadosh, a new career path. Hakim’s other daughter Lisa Allen, who co-owned Monterey’s Trailside Caf?, will also pitch in.
Kadosh will manage the joint, and Hakim’s former Scandia chef Tedulo Pinto (who most recently worked at Anton & Michel in Carmel) will handle the kitchen, cranking out breakfast, lunch and dinner in a fast-casual setting.
“When we started talking about ideas for a restaurant, Dad really loved this building, and we started researching Googie architecture,” Kadosh said. “It will be just a touch of Googie to bring it together in a really fun way.”
That dramatic style will be reflected in the angular walls and windows and splashes of neon paint, as well as Googie lamps and fixtures. Crews have remodeled the building, replaced the kitchen and covered the once open-air patio.
Hakim wants to attract families, college students, neighborhood workers and anyone interested in “fresh, delicious comfort food.”
Googie Grill will price its menu items in the $6-$15 range, and will serve beer and wine. Customers will place their orders with friendly, expert staff at the counter and food will be delivered to the table.
“The menu will reflect our taste and style, and my dad’s experience,” Kadosh said.
Hakim calls it “American food with a twist,” and it’s his belief that “comfort food is coming back, and we’re going to make good quality food with fresh ingredients.”
The grill will open for breakfast daily at 7:30 a.m., and serve a lunch and dinner menu from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Find out more about Googie Grill at www.googiegrill.com or call 392-1520.
Mike Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to his weekly radio show “Food Fodder” at noon Wednesdays on KRML, 102.1 FM.
Googie is an architectural style that was born in Southern California in the 1940s and died out in the 1960s. Here are a few tidbits about the style, from Googie Architecture Online.
Origins: The style is traced back to designer John Lautner. The look got a name in 1949 when he opened Googie’s in Los Angeles in 1949.
Elements: Upswept roofs, large domes, large sheet glass windows, boomerang shapes, amoebae shapes, atomic models, starbursts, exposed steel beams and flying saucer shapes are most common.
Examples: The Space Needle in Seattle, early Bob’s Big Boy restaurants, buildings in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland
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