On Monday, Jan. 24, the Shore House Café, 5271 E. Second St., closed its doors and has remained closed this week. Signs stating, “Closed today for renovation,” have been posted in the café’s windows since early last week.
On Jan. 26, Linda Dulay, office manager for the Shore House Café Belmont Shore, said that the restaurant is “closed for the time being, and the (owners) are trying to renegotiate (the lease) with the landlord.”
However, Dulay emphasized that she “didn’t know all the details” of the reason behind the closure. In July 2010, the Seal Beach Shore House Café shut down after similar signs were posted.
The signs read, “Shore House Café compelled to close due to redevelopment plans by property ownership. Thank you for your patronage, words cannot express our remorse.”
David Bonadonna owns the 24-hour restaurant, a staple in Belmont Shore for nearly three decades, and has not returned repeated calls for comment.
Diana Bonadonna, president of JMB 516, Inc., the corporation that has owned the Belmont Shore Shore House Café plus other locations of the business in Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and San Clemente, did not return calls for comment either.
On Monday, David Bonadonna did attempt to reach out to Pacific Equity Properties Inc., the real estate investment and development company that has owned and managed the block of properties from 5251 E. Second St. to 5271 E. Second St. since 1986.
Bryan Gordon, CEO of Pacific Equity Properties Inc., said that Bonadonna left a message earlier that day at the Santa Monica-based company, but Gordon had not spoken with him as of Monday evening.
“Last week, we received a letter (from Bonadonna) and it came as a surprise (that Shore House Café in Belmont Shore was closed),” said Gordon, who did not wish to disclose the contents of that letter.
“Someone in the (Belmont Shore) area sent me a photograph of the property with the (‘closed’ signs) in the windows last week… None of the talk of the rent increase (as reason for the closure) is the issue. We’re hopeful we can work something out (with Bonadonna). Clearly, it’s in nobody’s best interest for a building to be vacant… I’m confident we’ll reach an agreement.”
A Shore House Café employee, who requested her identity remain confidential, wrote in an e-mail Jan. 25 to the Grunion Gazette that employees were not told about the closure.
“On Monday, the Shore House Café locked its doors, covered the windows with brown paper and posted a sign that reads ‘closed for remodeling,’” the employee wrote. “We were told nothing of the closure until the girl scheduled to work at 6 a.m. went to work (Monday) and found herself locked out… I arrived at 7:30 a.m. and saw all the cooks moving all the food and furniture out the back door and loading it into vans.”
The employee said Dulay told her that the rent was raised from $20,000 a month to $22,000 a month. Dulay declined to comment on the specific amount of the rent increase.
Pacific Equity Properties has owned up to four other parcels on Second Street in Belmont Shore during past years, but the company’s only holding today is 5251-5271 E. Second St. Gordon said his company specializes in storefront pedestrian-friendly retail properties. The company has redeveloped other properties on San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood, One Colorado in Old Pasadena, and most recently, Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.
“It depends on the area, but Second Street in Belmont Shore is a good example (of our approach) — we desire to have a good, balanced mix of national tenants and local tenants,” Gordon said.
“(A few of our tenants on Second Street) aren’t necessarily national, but their presence is in regional markets. Diversity of retail is important.”