Santa Monica’s breakfast restaurant, OP Cafe, closes forever this weekend



The OP Cafe, one of Los Angeles’ most popular breakfast and lunch destinations, will close permanently this weekend after more than 40 years in business. Located inland from Santa Monica along Ocean Park Boulevard, the bright yellow wood-fronted building featured eggs, breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, pancakes and waffles in the morning. , followed by burgers, sandwiches and more, serving a mostly local crowd. Owner and Santa Monica native Mark Verge, who also owns Golden Bull, Ashland Hill, Art’s Table and Margo’s, said the OP Cafe had not been profitable since the pandemic began.

Verge said it was difficult to keep business going, but that without the support of nearby office workers (Activation Blizzard recently left the large office complex across the street after 10 years) the OP Cafe simply did not have the option of continuing to operate. The OP Cafe has received PPP funds and has done its best to navigate the pandemic, using most of its funds to pay employees, and even serving as a base of operations for a takeout company called Order. for Me, where chef Greg Daniels (who oversees Golden Bull) made things like beef on weck.

OP Cafe has also set up a large covered back patio in an effort to accommodate more outdoor dining. None of these things were enough to tackle the loss of steady business due to office workers and daily traffic entering the area.

Pancakes, bacon and eggs at the OP Cafe.
The OP Café

Verge said about 20 remaining OP Cafe employees will move to its other restaurants, meaning no one will lose their jobs despite the shutdown. Mark and his wife Lani Verge acquired the restaurant in 2006 and have owned it ever since. Originally opened in 1979 as Ocean Park Cafe, the original owner sold the restaurant to his then chef in 1999. This chef then sold it to Mark Verge but didn’t want to give up the full name of Ocean Park Cafe. Hence the nickname OP Cafe, which replaced the beloved neighborhood restaurant. Prior to Ocean Park Cafe, Verge said the space is more of a bar, but has become a favorite with the Santa Monica family over the past few decades.

The OP cafe will serve its last meals on Sunday September 26. It will have regular hours from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but given the restaurant’s history and its place in the Ocean Park neighborhood, expect long waits during meal times. .

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