Closed Marina Hof’s Hut Being Turned Into Lucille’s BBQ

When the Marina Hof’s Hut announced it was closing earlier this year, customers organized protests and begged owner Craig Hofman not to shutter one of the local chain’s oldest locations.

But Hofman insisted that the closure was inevitable: the family restaurant’s 50-year lease was up and the landlord was increasing rent.

Four months later, as the former Hof’s Hut location and the surrounding buildings that make up the Marina Gateway shopping center undergo construction, Hofman’s company announced a new plan for the location. By the end of this year, the beloved Hof’s Hut will become a Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a casual chain also owned by Hof’s parent company, Hofman Hospitality Group. The former Hof’s Hut on Second St. in Belmont Shore, less than two miles away, was also converted into a Lucille’s after closing.   

“My parents opened a Hof’s Hut restaurant in this exact location in 1961,” said Hofman, president of Hofman Hospitality Group. “When our lease term was up this year and I could not make the economics work for Hof’s, I negotiated with the landlord to bring the higher sales volume Lucille’s concept to the site. I am very excited to continue our Long Beach heritage in this location.”

Company representatives hinted early on that a Lucille’s may be replacing the outgoing Hof’s Hut, though the official reason for the Hut’s March 1 closure was that lease terms could not be negotiated for the site. Hofman himself told the Press-Telegram that “There are still options and Lucille’s is one of them,” and the company’s spokesperson–when asked at the time why Lucille’s could sign a lease and not Hof’s Hut–stressed the differences between the two brands. 

“It’s economics,” she said. “It’s the difference between more of a family dining and more of a casual dining experience. It all comes down to revenues in and costs out.”

Within weeks of the Marina Hof’s Hut closing, its parent company, Signal Hill-based Hof’s Hut Restaurants, changed its name to Hofman Hospitality Group and announced the launch of a third brand under its umbrella. The company opened the West Coast’s first SPIN! Neopolitan Pizza in Orange a few months ago.

Construction on the corner of 2nd St. and Pacific Coast Highway is slated for completion in late 2013. The new Lucille’s will be joined by a new CVS and a Gelson’s Market. 

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.