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Photos by Brian Addison
After a decade, Long Beach is losing one of its defining neighborhood restaurants.
When classically trained Chef John McLaughlin opened At Last Café in the Gayborhood of Long Beach in 2007, just a bit south of Broadway at Orange, his French-forward cuisine was astounding in terms of local food at the time—so the community is mourning the fact that he is serving his last plates of food to the public today.
From his famed brick chicken to lamb ossobucco, McLaughlin’s take on a neighborhood eatery echoed the many fantastic restaurants that litter French towns and cities: comfortable and humble, their success forced them to expand in 2010 and taking over the corner with sidewalk dining in 2014.
When asked to comment, McLaughlin stated, “It’s been nine wonderful years. We will miss our friends and neighbors. I couldn’t have done it without my wife.”
Meanwhile, vegans and veggie lovers should be ecstatic that food truck pioneer Seabirds Kitchen has officially opened their long-awaited a brick-and-mortar at 965 E 4th St. (at the former Bond’s Home Appliances building that was lost in a fire last year.)
Famous for their beer-battered avocado tacos, Seabirds opened its truck in 2010 with the sole mission of “pushing the boundaries of vegan cuisine.” That mission proved successful, giving the restaurant, well, an actual restaurant with a location at Costa Mesa’s The LAB (whose owner, Shaheen Sadeghi, bought a huge lot in North Long Beach).
It is a welcomed and much-needed vegan option—directly across from a McDonald’s, by the way, scoring extra points for Awesome Dichotomy—for the stretch of 4th that is home to everything from Hole Mole’s fast Mexican to Number Nine’s wypipo phở.