The year 2019 saw many local businesses suffering the after-effects of the Woolsey Fire, with many reporting sales down by anywhere from 20 to 50 percent from the previous year. Businesses in western Malibu, which was hardest hit by the fire, lost the most local customers—with thousands of residents displaced, many living temporarily out of town until their houses are rebuilt.
On June 30, the Coral Beach Cantina and Zooma Sushi restaurants both closed their doors in the PCH mixed use complex “Zuma Terrace” after 37 years in Malibu. Owner Peter Soli and landlord Ed Niles were apparently not able to work things out. Social media was filled with comments from longtime local patrons sorry to see the businesses go.
An online petition started by Soli and directed to the landlord asking to keep the restaurants open garnered 2,033 signatures. Soli told FOX 11 news on June 24 that he lost half of his clientele after the Woolsey Fire and that his 35 employees would be hired by a friend in the restaurant business.
Another closing that affected many locals was that of Pacific Coast Greens (PC Greens), owned and operated by Michael Osterman for almost 28 years, selling organic and locally sourcedfoods. The independent grocer closed its doors for good on Nov. 10. “Sadly, after the devastating Woolsey Fire, it is no longer possible for us to continue with our mission,” Osterman wrote.
Kristy’s Roadhouse Malibu on Kanan Road burned to the ground in the Woolsey Fire and reopened for several months in a new location at Trancas Country Market as Kristy’s Roadhouse Grill. A reliable source said the space will next be taken over by a brew pub.
Trancas Country Market had three other businesses move in during 2019—the Coda home goods store and Alicia Adams Alpaca, a family business that sells alpaca textiles in the form of throws, blankets, accents, pillows and baby clothes made from their own herd of alpacas.
In addition, Malibu Meditations Journey set up shop in a stand-alone building behind Vintage Market, offering classes and personal training/coaching in yoga, healing and meditation.
The entire new development of The Park at Cross Creek, called simply “Whole Foods” by most locals, officially opened on June 12 after years of planning and controversy—the first new shopping center in Malibu in 35 years. The 25,000-square-foot Whole Foods grocery store is the center’s main anchor at 23401 Civic Center Way. While Blue Bottle Coffee Café and a nail salon are the only other tenants that have moved in, owner and investor Steve Soboroff announced months ago that D’Amore’s Restaurant, Howdy’s Restaurant, Barefoot Dreams, Sorenity Rocks Malibu and Door-to-Door Valet Cleaners have also signed leases.
At Malibu Village (next to Malibu Creek), Coast Supply has already come and gone in 2019.
The Mindry meditation studio opened in the Village in July, founded by Malibu locals and best friends Jen Rossi and Willow Kalatchi.
Catch Surf, a surf shop, opened at the Village last July and the nearby Teressa Foglia hat shop had its grand opening in June.
Malibu Burger Company closed its doors June 5 after two years. The fast-casual burger restaurant was a joint venture between locals Cisco Adler and Matt Winter. The Broad Street Oyster Company moved into the Malibu Burger space on July 4 as a pop-up, with a lease that ran through Nov. 1, bringing its famous Maine lobster rolls to town. The lease was obviously extended, because the restaurant was still there as of Dec. 30.
Legendary LA retailer Fred Segal returned to Malibu Village on April 5—right across the street from the location it originally had there from the ‘70s to the ‘80s. The new, 4,000-square-foot store is located at the prime corner spot previously occupied by Malibu Cinemas and carries women’s, men’s and kids’ clothing and accessories.
Next to Fred Segal, in its own stand-alone building, is Free People, a lifestyle brand selling women’s clothing, accessories and home décor, which opened last June.
The Malibu Country Mart, across the street from Malibu Village, had several new tenants in 2019 including Ba&sh, a luxury women’s clothing label that opened in July as the brand’s second West Coast location.
In addition, White’s Mercantile took up residence for a short time beginning in April, owned by singer-songwriter Holly Williams, daughter of country music legend Hank Williams Jr.—a “general store” with locally made items unique to Malibu.
And All Things Bell, owned by designer Alicia Bell, opened its very first store ever in the Country Mart in April with resort wear for women and children.
At Malibu Colony Plaza, aka the Ralph’s shopping center, which has some of the highest rental rates in town, the Kaishin Malibu Cantonese cafe closed after six years in business.
The Colony Plaza space vacated by the Wolfgang Puck restaurant Granita, which has been collecting dust since 2005, is now rumored to finally have a new tenant. A reliable source says Zinc Café will be opening its fourth LA location there.
The Cliffdiver restaurant at 21337 PCH (former location of Tavern 1 Grill) opened in September and offers a “coastal Mexican experience,” including ceviches and tacos. Owners Adolfo Garcia and Dion Antic both spent years opening and running restaurants in Chicago.
Nicolas Eatery, a family-run restaurant specializing in French cooking with organic ingredients from local farmers, opened in September in the former Thai Dishes space. Born and raised in France, owner Nicolas Fanucci brings more than three decades of high-end restaurant experience.
Malibu Ranch, the planned development next to The Park at Cross Creek, is already advertising to find tenants for 42 spaces, though it hasn’t broken ground yet.