July 27, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Family Tradition Keeps Lares In Santa Monica Going Strong:

Every day at 8 a.m., the Lares family opens the doors to its restaurant in the Pico neighborhood, like it has for 43 years. On this morning, the day after Thanksgiving, the room is cozy with bright sunlight and gentle sounds of folks fortifying themselves with post-turkey sustenance – a family of five digging into their omelets and burrito platters, people dining solo on plates of huevos, a trio of friends meeting up over morning margaritas at the bar.

Before it became Lares Restaurant, this space on Pico Boulevard near 30th Street was called Irene’s Cafe, a modest coffee shop about a quarter of the restaurant’s current size. Jesse Lares had been working as a cook at Rae’s diner down the street and bought the coffee shop in 1967 with his sister, Aurora. The siblings had worked in restaurants, but it was their first time running their own business. The upstairs space was where they lived.

“It was a little hole in the wall, with four little card tables and metal chairs,” said Robert Parra, who considers himself one of Lares’ first customers. Parra now lives in New Mexico and on a recent return visit was happy to see Señor Parra’s Special ($12.95) still on the breakfast menu.

“I asked Jesse to make this dish,” Parra said. “It’s scrambled eggs with onions, bell peppers, and steak diced, but not completely cut through, so it stays together. It has grilled onions on top. It’s a great dish.”

Since those early days, Lares has expanded and evolved into a two-story Mexican restaurant with two full bars, live entertainment, and a loyal following.

In 1970 the woman who would become Jesse’s wife, Rosa Maria, came to the restaurant looking for a job and started working as a waitress. Now, she is the creative soul behind the rustic decor and the paintings that adorn the room. Jesse is on the premises daily overseeing operations, and their children manage the floor.

“The success of Lares is due in large part to our family,” said daughter and manager Martha Lares-Huerta.

Lares’ menu offers a mix of home cooking and elaborate fare.

Signature dishes include the Macuca ($8.25), a breakfast dish made from Jesse’s mother’s recipe.

“I’ve tried everything on the menu but I always end up with the Macuca,” said Martin Waldman of Malibu, a longtime customer. “It’s kind of a stew, if you will, with eggs, bacon, and potatoes. It’s delicious – you won’t find it anywhere else.”

The carnitas are juicy and flavorful, with plenty of tender and crispy parts in the meat. You can get carnitas in tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, with chile verde or chile colorado. They also come as a carnitas plate ($12.95) served with slices of tomato and avocado, raw onion, cilantro sprigs, a lemon wedge, and tortillas. A bowl of fideo noodles in a tasty chicken and tomato broth ($5.50 – $7.95) is comforting.

“People talk about our Fideo Soup,” said Lares-Huerta. “They say, ‘it tastes just like my mom makes it.’”

Most tacos and enchilada dinner plates run about $9.25 to $14.95 (for shrimp or crab enchiladas or tostada). Specialty dishes on the dinner menu are in the $11.95 to $16.95 range. A Birria lamb stew ($14.95) is served with rice, beans, and tortillas, and a Caldo de Siete Mares seafood soup is $15.95. All steaks are U.S.D.A. choice and can be paired with rice and beans or with fresh veggies and a baked potato after 6 p.m.

At night a duo of guitarists plays bolero music, and Lares keeps the margaritas and menu going until 1 a.m.

Lares Restaurant

2909 Pico Blvd.

310.829.4550

www.lares-restaurant.com

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.

in News
Related Posts

Two Arrested for Main Street Bike Shop Burglary

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

Two suspects were arrested for the burglary of a Main Street bike store after the owner witnessed the crime via...

Council Selects Berkeley Deputy City Manager to Helm Santa Monica

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

David White to be Santa Monica’s next City Manager starting in October  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica City Council has...

Ocean Park Library Set to Reopen

July 20, 2021

July 20, 2021

New self-service hours begin July 28 By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch is set to...

Police Tase Suspect Following Santa Monica Beach Stabbing

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

32-year-old man arrested Sunday evening on Santa Monica Beach, suffers head injuries in arrest By Sam Catanzaro As part of...

Santa Monica Beat: Santa Monica Beat – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Serial Killer Arrested by SMPD Sentenced to Death * New Grants...

Santa Monica May Ban Lobbyists From Serving on Boards and Commissions

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

City Council instructs staff to draft ordinance to bar paid policy advocates from serving on board, commissions, task forces   By...

Water Near Santa Monica Pier Remains Questionable as Beach Closures Lifted Following Sewage Discharge

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Edify TV: Local Cafe Supporting Foster Youths

July 14, 2021

July 14, 2021

La La Land Kind Cafe recently opened its first California location in Santa Monica, delivering not only unique coffee and...

Santa Monica Experiencing 9-1-1 Call Outage

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Update: As of 3 p.m., 9-1-1 phone service in Santa Monica has been fully restored. Please call or text 9-1-1...

Santa Monica Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit With Match.com: Santa Monica Beat – July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit With Match.com* SMPD and Services...

17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Spills Into Santa Monica Bay

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Sunday night spillage occurs 1-mile offshore from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant By Sam Catanzaro 17 million gallons of raw sewage...

Santa Monica Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit With Match.com

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Santa Monica among handful of California cities included in lawsuit By Chad Winthrop Santa Monica and a handful of California...

New Plans For Offices Near Santa Monica’s Memorial Park Revealed

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Designs call for nearly 40,000 square feet of office space By Toi Creel Santa Monica is getting a new look...