Chef Michael Mina has built a restaurant empire through his MINA Group that, after a massive expansion over the past decade, has brought his restaurants to every corner of the country. Now, the famed chef will join The Bungalow lounge group by overseeing the menu of its first Long Beach location at the soon-to-open 2nd & PCH retail and dining complex.
Taking over one of the largest spaces in the complex—The Bungalow Long Beach is expected to inhabit over 8,000-square-feet when it breaks ground next spring—Mina has partnered with Brent Bolthouse, the man behind The Bungalow, by taking over two new locations; one in Long Beach and another in La Jolla.
Born in Egypt, Mina earned his first Michelin star for his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco and has, at least in the bay, created a name synonymous with the city’s food scene. (Though Mina’s beginnings were SoCal-centric: He began his career under George Morrone, the chef who reinvented the Bel Air Hotel’s menu in the late 1980s, and then paired up with him when asked to take on a concept in San Francisco, solidifying his future home.)
“For years I have said the only way I would ever open another restaurant would be with Michael Mina,” Bolthouse said in a statement. “Clearly dreams do come true. I’m so excited to see what we can dream up together, starting first by adding world-class food and mixology to The Bungalow in Long Beach and La Jolla.”
The Bungalow will mark Mina’s distinct crossing into what Bolthouse, for better or worse, misnomers as the “Baja lifestyle.” The Bungalow’s flagship location in Santa Monica exudes almost everything but Baja: Hawaiian poke and hot wings are paired with burrata flatbread and tacos in a vibe that harkens more to, well, Santa Monica than it does Baja California.
If anything, it is of the contemporary Southern Californian tradition of mingling cultures rather than being distinctly Baja. That being said, for what The Bungalow has long been trying to achieve—elevated Californian fare that caters to a more affluent albeit casual crowd—Mina might just bring the lounge toward its desired position.
The Bungalow Long Beach is expected to open in the fall of 2019.