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Now Open: Local Kitchen + Bar

The Ocean Park Avenue in Santa Monica has been having a bit of a mini-renaissance, a micro-movement that started with Maire Byrne’s Thyme Café, which opened in 2009. Now, she’s opening a second restaurant on the street—Local Kitchen + Wine Bar. The new spot is a little bit more dressed up than Thyme, with a sit-down menu and rounded-out wine list. The interior is light and airy, with an intimate outdoor porch and two big, long bars: one in front of the sky-high wine rack and the other in front of their blazing pizza oven. Stephen Murray, formerly a sous chef for Michael Chiarello at Bottega in Napa, is the guy you’ll find manning said oven and running the rest of the kitchen. The American-style menu is filled with seasonal, California fare, but it’s a little bit heavier than you’re used to seeing from Byrne: Expect classic pizzas, straightforward pasta, and pared down meat dishes. If you’re not up for the full dinner, stop by before seven for a very well-priced happy hour.

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