Royal Buffet fire

A fire truck responded April 10 to the fire at Royal Buffet in North Long Beach.

WE Labs Grows

WE Labs, short for Work Evolution Laboratories, last week expanded to open its second co-working space at the Historic Packard Building.

Founded three years ago by the late Markus Manley as an “entrepreneurial haven,” WE Labs on the eighth floor of the Pacific Tower has been a popular communal working space — so popular, in fact, that it needed more room to meet demand, according to a release.

“A second space was always part of WE Labs’ long-term plan, but reaching capacity at the Pacific Tower helped light a fire under the concept,” the release stated.

Providing affordable access to a collaborative work environment, the new Historic Packard Building space at 205 E. Anaheim St., has more artist suites, classrooms, a courtyard and more than 15,000 total square feet for creatives to brainstorm, launch ideas, learn from one another, start new businesses and grow their dreams.

“We really want to create an environment with this new space that allows for artists, makers, technologist and knowledge professionals to find new and innovative ways to collaborate and create,” Ted Sieving, one of WE Labs’ managing partners, said. “We really believe that next phase in innovation will combine wildly varied experiences and industries and we hope our new space will help Long Beach lead the way in the future of innovation.”

For details about WE Labs, visit www.welabs.us.

RMD On TV

Long Beach’s own experiential marketing firm RMD Group, based on the Ninth District, is going to be featured next year on the automotive-focused Velocity cable network, part of Discovery Communications.

RMD CEO Ralph Holguin and his team will star in “RMD Design,” set to broadcast in September 2017, according to a congratulatory release sent on behalf of Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson. The show was officially announced late last month.

“This is a great example of how a dynamic and innovative business can locate and thrive in Uptown Long Beach,” Richardson said.

Holguin and the RMD team based at 2311 E. South St. have been creating custom cars as well as experiential advertising for more than a decade for big name brands such as Lexus, Ford, Red Bull, Toyo Tires, Pilot Automotive and others.

Holguin is an entrepreneur who got his start as a teenager, building a successful custom car company from a mobile detail business.

The show will bring viewers inside Holguin’s garage, where automotive design boundaries will be pushed to the limit to “create eye-popping wheels that make car lovers everywhere swoon,” promised a description on the Discovery Communications website.

For details about RMD, visit www.rmdgroupinc.com.

L’Opera Milestone

For 25 consecutive years, L’Opera Ristorante has earned top honors through the Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards.

Critics continue to praise L’Opera Ristorante, giving the fine dining restaurant the association’s highest honor, the Golden Scepter 5-Star Award, for food, service and ambiance.

The Italian restaurant also earned the Golden Bacchus Award for its expansive wine list and ever-evolving wine program, according to a release.

L’Opera is one of only two restaurants in Long Beach to win both the Golden Scepter 5-Star and Golden Bacchus awards, and one of just five Italian restaurants recognized in Southern California.

“We are delighted and humbled to accept these prestigious awards,” L’Opera owner Terry Antonelli said. “Our extraordinary team (including Executive Chef Walter Cotta) works hard to ensure every guest’s experience is stellar.”

The 200-seat restaurant, which also has a separate banquet room for special events, is located at 101 Pine Ave. For details or reservations, call (562) 491-0066 or visit lopera.com.

Copies of the 42nd Annual Restaurant Awards Book are available now, featuring more than 450 award-winning places to eat in Southern California. The book costs $10 online at www.southerncaliforniarestaurantwriters.net.

Royal Buffet Burned

Despite the efforts of firefighters, the Royal Buffet near Atlantic Avenue and the 405 Freeway in Bixby Knolls was destroyed Sunday morning.

LBFD Capt. Mark Miller told City News Service that an off-duty firefighter saw flames on the roof of the Chinese restaurant and called for help. Two waves of firefighting crews were called in, and they distinguished the flames around 7:30 a.m.

Miller said no one was inside the restaurant at the time.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Royal Buffet is located at 530 E. 33rd St.

Ashleigh Ruhl can be reached at ashleighruhl@gmail.com.

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