If you, like many of the rest of us, dream of Christine Moore's sea salt caramels, you'll soon have another place to get your fix. And a whole lot more than caramels. Moore and business partner Pam Perkins have spent the last year quietly at work turning a 1920s-era brick building on Lincoln Avenue in northern Pasadena into what will soon be a gorgeous restaurant, serving affordable casual food, sandwiches and pastries, crusty bread, wine and Stumptown coffee.
Called Lincoln, the casual restaurant is going into what was originally a machine shop — but had been sitting abandoned before Moore found it. It's now being turned into a cozy space with open lofty ceilings and exposed brick walls. Outside is not only actual parking but a patio, where Moore and Perkins have planted olive trees, Carolina cherry trees, kumquat trees and bay laurels, and put in raised beds for herbs for the restaurant. Oh, and there's also space for a pingpong table, and Moore's Santa Maria barbecue.
There are actually two old buildings that Moore and Perkins are refurbishing: They're turning the second building into a space for a wine shop, a take-out espresso counter and a candy store (caramels! marshmallows!), which will sell many of the same awesome products that she's sold online and from her Little Flower Candy Co. shop in the southwest corner of Pasadena since it opened almost 10 years ago. There's also a gorgeous big room (more exposed brick, more lofty ceilings) for private dinner parties, since there are SO MANY of those available in Pasadena, aren't there.
Lincoln, to clarify, is not going to be a second Little Flower. Moore fell in love with the 2,000-square-foot old building and wanted to establish a neighborhood spot all its own. She and Perkins are doing most of the work themselves, finding second-hand furniture, equipment and fixtures from Habitat for Humanity and other local shops, including the Glendale Library, from which they sourced what's now their pastry counter. Most of the equipment the pair sourced from old restaurants, although they did go out and buy a swank new La Marzocco espresso machine.
The restaurant's name, incidentally, which is painted on the outside of the building with an arrow through it, is kind of like a road sign. Once you're in Pasadena, you head to Lincoln Ave., then you head north. Not Fair Oaks, not Colorado. Moore's just saying.
The lovely, large dining room is lit by the sunlight and and some enormous windows, which look out onto the patio space, which will soon be filled with outdoor seating and umbrellas. Inside, there's a giant map of Mexico that Moore found at yet another estate sale, this one at a 1930s-era DTLA building.
Transforming an abandoned machine shop into a pretty restaurant and candy shop has taken Moore and Perkins a lot of time, money and energy, but after a LOT of wrangling, Lincoln is finally set to open its beautiful doors in the next few weeks.
At which point everyone who beats a steady path between the Rose Bowl and Super King will have a place for a coffee and a pastry. Or a glass of wine and crusty bread and cheese. Or duck confit, yuzu chicken salad, gravlax, huevos rancheros, Niçoise salad or a warm bulgur breakfast salad. Or a few pounds of caramels. Or all of the above, with or without the pingpong.