Long Beach foodies are mourning the pandemic-driven loss of the Naples steakhouse Chianina.

“Seventeen years ago, Dad and I made a goal to up the fine dining game in Long Beach.” said Carl Dene, who along with his father Michael, established four Long Beach restaurants that changed Long Beach’s food culture.

The Dene’s created Michael’s on Naples, Michael’s Downtown, Michael’s Pizzeria and the crown jewel of dining Chianina Steakhouse.

Last week they announced after more than six years in business, Chianina Steakhouse on Second Street will close its doors permanently. Michael’s on Naples will be closing temporarily until outdoor dining is allowed to resume in Los Angeles County, as will the downtown location and the pizzeria.

The last day for take-out was Saturday, Jan. 9 — and items like their classic sauces are selling out quickly.

Today, residents checking the top two Zagat recommended restaurants in Long Beach will find Chianina and Michael’s on Naples. Some might say Michael and Carl Dene helped put Long Beach on the map when it came to fine dining.

Third place on the Zagat list is held by L’Opera Italian Restaurant, another gem that is “temporary closed” as a result of current health restrictions. L’Opera’s owners postponed their 30th anniversary party that was planned for last April.

The steakhouse’s closure will be added to the growing list of businesses that will never open again because of the pandemic. Despite this, Dene’s tenacity and hope for the future regarding the location on Second Street in the Long Beach neighborhood of Naples continues.

“We own the Chianina property, the purchase closed last September," Dene said. "We plan to carry the torch that Kelly’s established at that site. Prior to opening Chianina, the 2,500-square-foot property was completely redone. We will work with a new restaurant to help them develop their vision.”

The Kelly’s that was replaced by Chianina was known as Long Beach’s oldest steakhouse when it closed in 2013.

“One of the changes planned in the future is converting some of the existing parking lot into an outdoor patio area,” Dene added.

Meanwhile, Carl Dene is busy in Calistoga, Calif. He has been enhancing a local Inn, and developing Sam’s General Store by creating a new menu, and making the historic landmark more visible.

“Tim Terrell from Aroma de Roma helped to up my coffee game here,” he added.

Future Dene group plans for 2022 include a new restaurant in Napa Valley.

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