Photos by Asia Morris.
MVP’s original 4th St. location in Belmont Heights, between Grand Ave. and Loma Ave. has officially closed and moved to a new location at 4th St. and Temple Ave., where Shillelagh used to be. And while Shillelagh's comfort food will surely be missed, O'Connell's patrons and resident foodies will be pleased to know the two spaces are still connected by an inside hallway.
Known for their extensive hamburger menu, each named for a famous athlete, the renowned local favorite MVP's, which opened its newest location on Thursday, January 8, plans to have a grand opening celebration in the near future. The date has yet to be decided, but they do know they plan to invite Mayor Robert Garcia to the ceremony.
Co-owner Oscar Barajas said, "We've been a part of this community for such a long time, we think a great deal of our customers, we appreciate all their business and their feedback and always try to be a part of the community. We want to thank our customers for supporting us through the move."
Barajas and Fernando Lule [pictured], who now own the iconic neighborhood joint that was created in the late 90s, when it changed over from The Whistle Stop, were sad to see the original location go but have welcomed this new location as an opportunity for growth.
With more space and a larger kitchen, MVPs plans to expand their menu to include healthier options, something their customers have been asking for.
"We're going to be expanding our salad options because more people are eating healthy, more organic," said Barajas. "People are asking for healthier options."
The former location in Belmont Heights lacked a restroom and indoor seating, something that was seen as less of an inconvenience and more of a silly quirk of the long-time neighborhood staple. However, since the new space has both, in addition to a designated parking lot and of course, an outdoor patio, business has never been better.
"One of our biggest challenges at the old location was the weather," said Barajas. "This weekend there was a lot of rain, people don't want to eat outdoors. More customers come through the kitchen now because of the indoor seating."
It's a better location because it's closer to Retro Row, says Barajas, which generates a lot more walk-in traffic. Not to mention, the restaurant now offers delivery-by-bicycle through Long Beach's newest delivery service, Maritime Bicycle Courier.
Out with the Irish nachos and the sunken floor boards that characterized Shillelagh's menu and quaint back patio, in with a hamburger called the “Shaq” that you can barely fit in your mouth, and in with a menu that goes especially well with a brew from O’Connell's.
The newest MVPs is located at 2742 E. 4th St.