China Tea House - Torrance

China Tea House Torrance

Only one — Nordstrom’s second-story, full-service restaurant with an outdoor patio and full bar called Bazille — will open as scheduled at 10 a.m. Friday on the western side of the mall along Hawthorne Boulevard.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q, which is moving from into its current location into a new space in the mall about 100 yards away adjacent to Macy’s, will reopen in its new quarters later this fall.

“Hopefully, there’s no more than a week window when we will be closed, ” said Brad Hoffman, marketing director for the Signal Hill-based chain. “It will have a full bar and patio seating, which we didn’t have before.”

It’s unclear when upscale Mexican restaurant Frida, which has had a Beverly Hills location since 2002, will open. Founder Vincente Del Rio did not return a message seeking comment and staff in the corporate offices were unaware of the opening date.

The restaurants are clearly attempting to appeal to a different demographic than the one that packs the original restaurant row on the other side of Hawthorne Boulevard on weekend evenings. That popular set of eateries includes more solidly middle-of-the-road chains such as Souplantation, Red Lobster, Elephant Bar, Marie Callender’s and Benihana.

Whether these upscale restaurants with their $18 margaritas and $28 New York strip steaks, play well in middle-class Torrance remains to be seen.

Del Amo Fashion Center already has seen the likes of upscale taco restaurant Ocho 8 and Jerry’s Deli fail, noted Daily Breeze restaurant critic Merrill Shindler .

Incredibly popular Din Tai Fung is the big prize for the mall, he said.

“The first ones here opened in Arcadia, ” Shindler said. “The wait was a standard two hours, so to deal with the wait they opened a branch directly next door to the original, so now the wait is an hour and a half.”

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Johnny Rivera, owner and founder of Great Maple — who describes the restaurant as brasserie (the French word for brewery) meets American diner — sees a gap in the marketplace here and likes the visibility his location will boast.

“This is a brilliant little spot in the chaos that is Los Angeles, ” he said. “It’s got all the good things you want in Southern California and I think it’s underserved. I think it needs more restaurants and eclectic dining.

Source: www.dailybreeze.com
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