Bite in the ‘Burbs
A subdued palette of white, black, grey and copper fills a room just big enough for the block party of a cul-de-sac.
It’s not easy to talk about the South Bay in a way that doesn’t seem obvious. I was doing my best to summarize the area to a friend who had recently moved here from the East Coast—first describing its cluster of casual cities, then noting its feeling of removal from the rest of Los Angeles—when I said something that she had every right to laugh at: “A lot of people don’t leave.”
We were sitting by a large square window at Suburbia, an all-day restaurant from Blackhouse Hospitality that opened last August in South Redondo, as the late-morning sun streamed across our wooden table. A bicyclist peddled by with a surfboard underhand, heading in the direction of a glittering ocean a few blocks away.
No wonder my friend teasingly responded with, “Well, yeah,” and chuckled as she glanced back at her menu. Clearly this is a place that anyone should feel lucky to call home. And perhaps Suburbia is the latest reason why.
Tucked between well-trafficked storefronts overlooking a popular parking lot, Suburbia lends itself well to the imagery of its namesake. The term connotes manicured streets lined with identical homes and like-minded families, stretching far into the open spaces beyond cities that were otherwise too crowded or too perilous to grasp peace of mind. It’s four syllables of perceived perfection—a comfortable bubble that the restaurant upholds within its walls.
“It’s definitely the one restaurant where I see a disproportionate amount of people I know from Redondo and around the hill,” says Jed Sanford, the CEO of Blackhouse Hospitality who’s lived throughout the South Bay and currently resides in Palos Verdes. In the last few years, he’s opened a handful of other nearby eateries—Little Sister, Día de Campo and Steak and Whisky, to name a few.
But Suburbia was different. The goal was to create a place where locals could hypothetically hang out all day, so the menu needed to be broader than what had been done before. To do that, Suburbia had to have a calm atmosphere but a daring mentality: to embody the one home on the block that isn’t quite like the others.
Everything on the menu is made in-house, from stock and scratch, and classic Americana offerings intertwine with eclectic alternatives from around the world (including favorites from Blackhouse’s other haunts). Go ahead and eat the plain bagel and cream cheese topped with lox, sure, but opt for the golden French toast and its rich ricotta, figs and honey when a humdrum breakfast feels as ordinary as a picket fence. Be quick, though: The French toast’s breaded exterior can get chewy if you wait.
Thirsty? Stay on your toes and pick from a list of tongue-in-cheek cocktails, including the sweet, strong Hard Out Here for a Pimm. Sticking around for most of the day wouldn’t be hard to do, unless one too many of those pun-swirled drinks turned into empty glasses.
A subdued palette of white, black, grey and copper fills a room just big enough for the block party of a cul-de-sac. Modern details, like the herringbone-tiled glossy black wall near the bar and its matching tufted couch, complement the more traditional finishes of wood floors and an exposed beam ceiling. Mason jar light covers and a centralized industrial chandelier provide of-the-moment style, and an abundance of white wood allows light to fill the space.
Order the Pão de Queijo, a handheld Brazilian cheesy pouf with a side of honey butter, alongside the spicy poke with its fresh tuna, crunchy scallions and eye-opening sriracha mayo. The servings are just big enough for a second wind, and by the time the plates are cleared, dinner is on the horizon.
Perhaps the one speed bump in Suburbia’s scheme is that an official happy hour isn’t an option. The restaurant serves a condensed menu between 3 and 5 p.m. to reset before dinner, but those same offerings are available at lunch.
You could blow around the neighborhood like the small blue paper airplanes painted throughout the restaurant—try to spot them all—and return later for a sharable bowl of off-the-cob street corn mixed with cilantro and radish. Then all that’s left are larger entrées of aptly named “swimmers” or “carnage” and playful desserts. Hopefully the atmosphere will still be as intimate as it was in the morning, and settling in will be as easy as the sip of a new drink.
247 Avenida Del Norte in Redondo Beach