The still-booming South Bay restaurant scene has seen its share of splashy openings in the past — the new-wave Asian fusion at Little Sister, the pristine seafood at Fishing With Dynamite, the lush Cal-Ital at Love & Salt — but it's fair to say that Baran's 2239 arrived with much less fanfare. Perhaps that's why it's so easy to fall in love with the place. The brainchild of brothers and first-time restaurateurs Jonathan and Jason Baran, Baran's 2239 is inspired by their family's historic Pasadena restaurant, the Brothertons Farmhouse, which opened in 1937 and served down-home comfort food at 2239 E. Colorado Blvd. for half a century. Most nights you'll find the brothers pouring drinks or greeting diners out front while their collaborator, chef Tyler Gugliotta, runs the kitchen. Gugliotta, a Torrance native who most recently worked at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice, has an interesting family tree of his own. His aunt and uncle, owners of Weiser Family Farms, are known for their choice vegetables (and for being name-checked on countless menus around town). Rest assured, Gugliotta does right by his aunt and uncle's produce — but it quickly becomes apparent that Gugliotta's inventive global cooking doesn't need to hang its hat on the farm-to-fork ethos alone. He also makes impressive use of his Italian; the gnocchi here blows away anything you'll find strolling along the boardwalk.
Credit: Anne Fishbein