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The restaurant AKA opened February 9 in the old Gordon Biersch space -- which had been empty for two years -- at One Colorado in Old Pasadena. The restaurant, which dubs itself "An American Bistro," is serving such fare as Portobello fries, gourmet Reuben and pulled pork sandwiches, duck cassoulet, Snake River Kobe flat-iron steak and oven-roasted game hen, all cooked up by executive chef Jonathan Weiner.
AKA is the brainchild of longtime restaurateur Robert Simon, owner of Pasadena's Bistro 45. His first AKA, Michelin-recommended in 2010, was in St. Helena, but that one closed last month.
"I wanted to create a new comfortable place to eat that's innovative and affordable," Simon told us. "We moved an entire restaurant from St. Helena to Pasadena. It's good to be home."
Pasadena's sparsely elegant version of AKA, with 3-inch-thick butcher-block tables and black leather seating, features floor-to-ceiling glass doors, a see-through wine cellar at the back of the main dining space, a bar and two private party rooms. Simon and his wife Deborah spent eight months renovating the space, including painting the walls three times before they were satisfied with the shade.