Sad but perhaps expected news out of Venice this weekend: After 24 years in business, Joe's Restaurant will be closing its doors on Feb. 14. Chef-owner Joe Miller announced the closure in a Facebook message, thanking his staff and customers for their support over the years.
Joe's served as a launching pad for many talented L.A. chefs — Kris Tominaga of Cadet and Josh Gil of Tacos Puntas Cabra, for instance — and it set the tone for a certain style of seasonal California cooking that would define Abbot Kinney for years to come, ushering in the eventual arrival of places such as Gjelina and the Tasting Kitchen.
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As former L.A. Weekly critic Jonathan Gold noted in 2007 on the subject of Joe's: "Everybody loves an underdog, and at Joe’s, which has been an institution since it was the size of a rent-controlled studio beach apartment, half of Venice has a crush on Joe Miller’s uncomplicated cuisine. You may not have a transcendent experience at Joe’s, and you’ll spend more than you think you should, but there is this to be said for the restaurant: The kitchen never, ever screws up the fish."
Joe's was previously rumored to be changing ownership, but those plans appear to have evaporated. There are as yet no plans for the future of the space. Read Joe's full statement posted on Facebook, below.
Dear Beloved Guests,
After 24 years, I have decided to close Joe's Restaurant. My restaurant.
I have had a great run bringing Farmer's Market-driven fine-dining to Abbot Kinney. I have seen this community through many changes. I've had a wonderful experience pouring my heart and soul into my food, my service, and my standards. I'm grateful to have met so many people and have had the pleasure of employing so many fine chefs and service staff and have seen many of them off to open their own restaurants to great acclaim, but now it is time to move on.
While I am sad to close this chapter of my life, I am so much more grateful to have had the opportunity to share my heart and passion with such a wonderful community for the past 24 years. I hope that those of you who have frequented my restaurant over the years will find time before the 14th of February to come in for one more meal and to say good-bye.
But most of all, I want to say, thank you.
Chef Joseph Miller