At the Thursday night Planning Commission meeting, the commission was set to discuss two conditional use permits for two new restaurant scheduled to open in the city later this year: The Ritz and Gratitude.
Yes, the iconic Ritz Restaurant, which closed on Valentine’s Day, 2014, is coming back not far from its longtime Fashion Island home.
The Ritz is remodeling the old Chart House restaurant on Coast Highway, and has applied to extend its hours of operation, add unamplified music and add a large awning structure to the patio area.
Staff is recommending that the commission allows extended outdoor dining hours on Saturdays and live entertainment inside the establishment, and denies the request for a larger awning structure on the outdoor dining patio.
The Ritz proposes live entertainment within the interior dining area and will include vocal and/or instrumental groups played at a background level without amplification.
According to the staff report, “the request is appropriate and will not create a nuisance to surrounding properties since live entertainment will occur entirely within the interior of the restaurant and will not include amplified music or instruments. The draft resolution has been conditioned to require the closing of the interior windows and doors while live entertainment is conducted to reduce the impacts of noise to residents across Newport.”
The staff report notes that “food service with alcohol service can be expected to be found in this area and is complementary to the visitor-serving goals of the Mariners’ Mile waterfront. The proposed restaurant use is expected to have a positive impact on the overall economic health of the community and may maintain the vitality of commercial properties within Mariners’ Mile. Therefore, staff believes the proposed outdoor dining patio hours and the request for live entertainment are appropriate for this location.”
Staff is also recommending a conditional use permit for a new restaurant located inside a building on Westcliff Drive that is being remodeled and scheduled to reopen this fall.
According to the staff report, Burnham-Ward Properties, the owner of the Westcliff building, has entered into a lease with a new operator that differs operationally from a concept previously approved.
The new restaurant will be Café Gratitude Newport Beach, which is described as “a collection of 100 percent organic restaurants that specialize in gourmet plant-based cuisine. The menu and environment is designed to support health and sustainability for both the community and the planet. Dishes are composed of real, organic ingredients from sustainable sources. The restaurant works closely with local farmers to serve produce at its peak of freshness with deference to seasonality. Daily operations are conducted according to the principle of ‘Sacred Commerce,’ whereby guests are offered both healthy food and a healthy ambiance that encourages them to view their lives from a perspective of gratitude. Originally founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Café Gratitude currently has six locations in downtown and mid-town Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Kansas City, Missouri. Café gratitude has won countless awards and accolades from the Los Angles culinary community.”