The place that ushered in the new generation of Culver City restaurant culture is closing. This coming Sunday, January 16th will be the last day of business at Beacon. Executive chef and Chinois on Main alum Kazuto Matsusaka along with his wife, general manager Vicki Fan Matsusaka, introduced their distinct brand of Asian fusion food at the historic Helms Bakery District. It's been seven years since the couple helped jump-start the area's burgeoning eating scene. They also briefly owned and operated The Point on National Boulevard before Mark Peel took it over.

“We're sad, but it's kind of a relief,” said Fan this afternoon. “The hardest part will be not seeing our regulars [anymore].” Fan said that the reasons for closing the restaurant were mixed: “The economy had a role in it; family had a role in it.” The couple has a 2 year-old daughter.

Fan confirmed that she and Matsusaka will convert their business, still to be called Beacon (and with the same website and email, for those who receive newsletters), into a full catering operation. “Catering sales went way up: it was pretty incredible.” Fan says that they're already booked for events into late 2011, but that she didn't rule out either herself or her husband returning to the kitchen, perhaps at another restaurant. “People have already been talking to us about projects. We just need a moment.”

In the last week of operation, Beacon will be serving its normal menu. “No special menu,” says Fan, who told us that as soon as customers heard about the restaurant's closing, last night, they started coming in and ordering all their favorites.

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