Long Beach Foodie Update: Commodity, Caffeinated Kitchen Move into Working Class Kitchen; Michael’s Re-Brands in DTLB

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Photo by Brian Addison.

Over the course of the last week, Long Beachers inundated me with questions about Working Class Kitchen (WCK at 1322 Coronado Ave)—Michael Dene’s popular butchery and sammie shop in the Zaferia—and why its doors had been shuttered with no explanation.

“We’re mainly looking into putting WCK into markets that have larger foot traffic,” said owner and Michael’s Restaurant Group head Carl Dene.

With the success of places like Steelcraft, WCK simply wasn’t getting the foot traffic it needed in order to keep up with overhead—an overhead, mind you, that wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a part of the operation. (For folks that don’t quite recall, WCK opened as a butchery, not a shop—but the popularity of things like its drool-worthy Chianina burger shifted that.)

Now, Dene and crew are eying spots across the city, from Belmont Shore to the 2nd + PCH project to elsewhere.

In its place, Commodity—the coffee popup that has slowly built a name as the best coffee in East Long Beach—and The Caffeinated Kitchen, the popular vegan donutery based out of Jen Hackler’s home kitchen, will operate out of the space.

The Caffeinated Kitchen, much to the delight of Hackler, will now have a full operating kitchen to expand her donut empire. With 20 accounts and more on a waiting list, she was unable to extend her reach out of her kitchen, leaving her footprint within a certain boundary. Now, she will not only expand her accounts list but also expand her offerings—and yes, that includes vegan poptarts.

As for other news in the Michael’s Restaurant Group, they will be re-branding their downtown pizzeria location into Michael’s Downtown while expanding its patio (along with Beachwood doing the same).

“So many people I’ve talked to think it’s just literally a pizzeria,” Dene said. “They have no idea we make our own pastas or have a branzino dish or… It makes sense and with the expanded patio, we’re basically looking to make Michael’s Downtown the younger, more relaxed version of Michael’s on Naples.”

Bring on the expanded patios.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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