Operators of Padre say they will stay open, but where remains a question

With a seven-story apartment building likely to displace Padre Latin Table & Craft Cocktails from its current location on the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Broadway, the restaurant’s management says its fans shouldn’t worry too much because the plan is to stay open, one way or another.

Padre has been an East Village Arts District staple for years where the Latin-inspired gastropub has served its tacos, ceviche and other fare from its downstairs restaurant while slinging craft cocktails at its upstairs bar, Mezcalero Long Beach.

However, its future at 525 Broadway became fuzzy in March when Mayor Robert Garcia announced that a seven story, 48-unit apartment complex had been proposed for the same parcel during the annual Building a Better Long Beach event.

Residents of a neighboring condo building appealed the project to the city’s Planning Commission earlier this month, claiming that the seven-story building would block their five-story building from fresh air and natural light.

That appeal was struck down by the city’s planning commission, clearing an obstacle for the project and its developers.

Francesco Miceli, the general manager of Padre, said that the plan is to stay open, but where the restaurant and its Mezcalero ultimately makes its permanent home is still up in the air.

The proposed development is expected to include a first-floor retail space and Miceli said that the developers have invited the restaurant to operate out of the space after construction is complete. For now, the restaurant’s management has been looking for new locations in Long Beach where it would operate out of while the project is built, if it ends up breaking ground.

“It’s very odd,” Miceli said, of the restaurant’s pending displacement. “I’ve never run into an issue like this while running a restaurant but we’re taking it as it comes and we’re going to do what it takes to keep this business going.”

A representative from Topanga Development, the developer seeking to build the project, could not be reached for comment.

A city planning official said earlier this month that there is no anticipated start date for the project, and the developers still need to draw up and submit final construction documents, hire contractors and make arrangements for the existing building. They said a project of this size typically takes about 9-12 months to complete.

That could leave Padre without a home for at least a year. Miceli said they love their current location and have built up a connection with the community that he doesn’t want to leave behind. However, he understands of the need to build more housing in the city, he said.

He said scouting out new locations could allow Padre to separate the Mezcalero from the restaurant and have them run independent of each other.

Miceli said he was confident that Padre would remain open but whether that’s at a new permanent location, or if it returns to Broadway and Atlantic is still up in the air.

“We’d really love to stay in that spot,” Miceli said. “I would want to come back at some point.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.
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