Photos by Asia Morris.
Linden Public, the revamped coffee shop, bar and bistro located on the corner of Linden Avenue and Broadway in the East Village of downtown Long Beach, celebrated its official grand opening on Saturday.
What used to be a coffee shop and cafe dubbed the Greenhouse is now an eatery that still offers locally sourced coffee, from both Rose Park Roasters and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, but now offers a great deal more, including additional and heartier menu fare, as well as later hours, a bar, a completely redone interior and a massive parklet outside.
Hend Elarabi, who owned Greenhouse as well as ASHA, the former Moroccan Mediterranean restaurant that was located in the neighboring space, which Thai District now occupies, felt the best way to start over after closing that business was to wipe the slate clean.
“I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, so I wasn’t going to give that up after I had to part ways with ASHA,” Elarabi told the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA). “[...]with Greenhouse being right next door, I just felt like a new slate was the best way to go.”
Perhaps the location has lost a bit of its coffee shop charm, where pale green paint on the walls and a plethora of indoor plants upstairs characterized a popular space for locals to chill out and put in a day’s work. However Linden Public offers a place to be productive and then some, seeking to “provide a roof for our multicultural society with somewhere as diverse as its surroundings,” according to the Love Letter to Long Beach, written in April.
“[...] we’ve created a space to share specialty coffee, crafted libations, good food, local music, artwork and independent ideas,” the letter continues.
The LP Burger: ground beef, sliced pineapple, red onion, bacon, provolone cheese, Roma tomatoes and spicy aioli.
The east village establishment now boasts a bar, where craft beers, wine and handmade cocktails are served, and it’s also open late on Fridays and Saturdays until midnight. The new bistro menu is overwhelmingly extensive with breakfast, lunch options with everything from paninis, to basmati rice-based bowls, to a hearty LP Burger with sliced pineapple, bacon and spicy aioli.
“[Patrons] like the fact that they can do beer and wine and coffee all at the same time,” Elarabi told the Post, when asked whether Greenhouse regulars have responded positively to the change. “They like that they can have a coffee to start their work and then beer or a glass of wine to finish up their day.”
The idea behind Linden Public follows the Brass Lamp-esque concept that creativity can be paired with more than just coffee, including food and alcoholic libations as well, to facilitate patrons' creative thinking and productive consumption. Now you can enjoy a glass of wine as you write your dissertation, business plan or host your monthly employee gathering. The two establishments stand on their own, however, with Brass Lamp's dimly lit ambiance and Linden Public's signature naturally lit space, added outdoor seating and upstairs seating (to be opened within the next few weeks) too different to compare.
It’s no surprise that the items on the menu seem like a Greenhouse and ASHA combo, where you can find a Lemon Caper Salmon Bowl and Tawook Wrap listed alongside a separate Toast & Coffee menu, with items such as the avocado egg and strawberry cream toasts. Two of the must-try items are the Mango Salmon Bowl and Lemon Caper Salmon Bowl, where Elarabi’s Moroccan heritage shines through.
“It’s like ASHA with more of an American flair, something that people can relate to,” she explained. “And that’s where the Greenhouse helped me.”
Lemon Caper Salmon Bowl: grilled salmon topped with white wine capers served over basmati rice and a side salad with hummus.
Elarabi and her team hosted three rounds of tastings with 15 different friends and family members for the entire menu. Different types of salmon, sauces and the like were used for each taster to try, with the Mango Salmon Bowl coming through as one of the biggest hits.
“That's how we handled all our food and with my background being from Morocco, I was able to incorporate some of those flavors and spices,” she said. “The lamb burger, the falafel, the mango salmon, all of that has a bit of a cultural connection with me.”
The Tawook Wrap: marinated grilled chicken breast, spicy garlic aioli, basmati rice, arugula and tomatoes.
Several of the complaints written on Yelp are based on growing pains typical to a new eatery; however, the smoke emanating from the exposed kitchen into the eating area is an issue that has been 50 percent dealt with, said Elarabi, who wants her patrons to know it’s a problem that is being addressed as quickly as possible.
“I wanted to create a place I would hang out at,” Elarabi told the DLBA. “I wanted to bring back what a lot of people felt they had with The Greenhouse but even better… We have some kinks to work out but we’ll get there. Promise.”
Linden Public is located at 149 Linden Avenue.