Wide Eyes Open Palms building parklet to expand sidewalk dining

Wide Eyes Open Palms, the cafe that has become a Retro Row staple thanks to powerhouse couple team Kat McIver and Angie Evans, will finally be expanding its sidewalk dining thanks to a new parklet currently under construction on the north side of Fourth Street on Cherry Avenue.

Before the project, there were limited seating options inside for guests and, outside, a limited amount of sidewalk tables available in order to maintain pedestrian clearance.

“Construction is well on its way and the project should be completed soon,” Evans said.

This mini-expansion is a two-way win; one for complete street advocates and one for food lovers.

For complete street nerds, parklets have served Long Beach as a way to make streets safer, encourage biking or walking, and benefit small businesses. And parklets, thanks to an eased process approved by the city, have become more and more common. Right around the corner, The Social List expanded their already-existing patio by expanding onto St. Louis Avenue. There’s the large parklet that was installed on 4th just east of Pine, as well as the parklets that have popped around all of Downtown. And long ago, I rejoiced about the pseudo-parklet over at what is now Ellie’s in Alamitos Beach. And before that, the parklets along Retro Row.

Long Beach is a parklet city—and that is a good thing for food lovers, especially in a region like ours where the sun is out the majority of the year and patio dining is sought out regularly. Pair this with good food and you have the perfect mini-getaway.

Wide Eyes Open Palms provides just that.

The ricotta toast and cocette at Wide Eyes Open Palms. Courtesy of Angie Evans.

I’ve long touted Long Beach’s coffee scene—remember Makai and The Green House?—and especially its roasting scene; Wide Eyes Open Palms has always been a part of that. They’ve been on my underrated restaurant list and they’ve been on my essential breakfast joints list. On top of that, they’ve been one of the city’s most queer-friendly caffeinated spaces, which is why, beyond the delectable liquid offerings they serve, their food is something that should be heralded. (There’s a reason they have maintained an unheard-of five-star rating on Yelp!’s review system.)

Their olive oil cake? A perfect pairing of olive oil’s earthiness and the sweetness of a cake, all held together with a grainy polenta.

Their jam and ricotta toast? Almost on the level of LA’s Republique: a thick slice of a rustic country loaf slathered with housemade ricotta and jam—is nothing short of addictive. My suggestion? Get the half-and-half if they have two jam flavors because I guarantee you that you’ll love both.

Plum almond bread pudding? Divine when available.

And it’s not the just the sweets: McIver’s seasonal frittatas are worthy in all four times of the years while her cocottes (cream-baked eggs) are some of the best this side of Pitchoun! bakery.

Wide Eyes Open Palms is located 416 Cherry Ave.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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