Remix Kitchen within LBX is looking a little different these days after a partnership with “Hell’s Kitchen” runner-up Chef Johnathan Benvenuti transformed the space into Bar Becky, a new Italian concept pop-up that could become a permanent fixture.

The pop-up had its first night on Valentine’s Day offering a $75 per person tasting menu with small bites, an appetizer, a pasta and protein dish that is finished off with dessert. It will run on select dates through the end of the month with seating times from 5 to 8 p.m.

Remix Kitchen was opened by Mix Mix Hospitality Group founder Chef Ross Pangilinan in 2020. The restaurant group has four eateries under its belt, with three of them in Orange County.

Chef Johnathan Benvenuti stands in the kitchen at LBX Remix Kitchen in Long Beach, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova

“We’ve been thinking about rebranding Remix for a while now,” Pangilinan said. “It’s a good way for me and for people who want to open restaurants to grow, I can’t be at all these places at the same time.”

It was perfect timing for Benvenuti, who at just 30-years-old was returning home from a successful run on the popular Fox show “Hell’s Kitchen” where Chef Gordon Ramsey puts contestants through a bootcamp to find his next executive chef.

“Coming off the show, I had high ambitions for what I wanted to do,” Benvenuti said. “It’s kind of crazy me and Chef Ross’ paths had never crossed.”

Benvenuti received a text on his flight home to Huntington Beach after filming the show’s finale from business partner and bar director Jason Scarborough, who said Pangilinan may have an opportunity for them to take over Remix.

Scarborough is well known in Orange County circles, heading up wine and bar programs at notable restaurants like the now-closed Ortica in Costa Mesa and chef’s table concept Trust in Downtown Santa Ana.

When the group came together, it was a perfect match, they said.

The new Bar Becky concept is drawn from Benvenuti’s Italian-American childhood, and named after his mother, who recently passed away.

“We grew up and food was our love language,” Benvenuti said. “My earliest memories are cooking with her. With Ross now, it just feels surreal that I’m able to share that with Long Beach and express my mom’s hospitality through this restaurant.”

His mother would’ve been in the kitchen of the new restaurant, Benvenuti said. But her presence will still be felt as he plans to include family photos in the restaurant and work toward it being a family affair by bringing his brother, Anthony, to work under Scarborough.

And while the safer bet would have been to open a restaurant in Orange County, an area he grew up in, Benvenuti said he’s excited for the challenge of making a name for himself in a city that he says is undergoing a food revolution.

“Being from Orange County, you have that curtain, but Long Beach is such a creative space,” Benvenuti said. “It feels like a perfect landing spot for what I’m trying to do. I’m planning to be here for the long run.”

Beyond the month of February, the group is still figuring out exactly what the space will look like and offer. This trial period of pop-ups will allow Benvenuti and the team to decide how best to move forward.

“I’m an optimistic guy and not many people get to test their concept in a location to see if it works and the fact that Ross has trusted us with that is amazing,” Benvenuti said.

Reservations for the tasting menu nights can be found on TOCK or Remix’s website. Follow Remix and Chef Jonathan on Instagram for updates. 

Remix is in LBX at 3860 Worsham Ave.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Johnathan Benvenuti’s name.