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Long Beach’s Pure Shore Kitchen closes

Popular taco eatery opened on Park Avenue last year with unique menu

Pure Shore Kitchen opened at 655 E. Park Ave. last year.
Pure Shore Kitchen opened at 655 E. Park Ave. last year.
Christina Daly/Herald

Pure Shore Kitchen, a popular eatery on Park Avenue, closed this week after more than a year in business.

The beach-themed restaurant was known for its unique take on tacos, poke bowls, avocado toast, quesadillas, salads, and other fare included in a menu that was inspired by the owners’ favorite surf spots across the country.

Pure Shore became a staple at 655 E. Park Ave. after owners Kevin Donnelly and Chad Pagano opened the 25-seat eatery, which included an avocado bar that allowed customers choices such as fresh lobster, lump crab meat, charred corn, guacamole and cherry tomatoes enjoyed with chips or sourdough bread. And, of course, the menu boasted a wide selection of tacos such as filet mignon with chimi-churri sauces and pico de gallo, or the lobster with avocado, as well as nachos with ahi tuna. It was also known for its wide selection of margaritas.

Donnelly could not immediately be reached for comment. A sign on the business stated, “Pure Shore Kitchen is closed. Sometimes good things falls apart so better things can fall together. Thank you for all your support over the past year.”

“They gave back to the community,” said Patricia Bourne, the city’s director of economic development. “Pure Shore has been very active in the [Long Beach Chamber of Commerce], and there’s a program at the MLK Center for seniors that the chamber helps with, and Pure Shore was one of the restaurants that provided food for the seniors."

Many took to Project 11561, a community Facebook page that first posted the news on Thursday, to express their disappointment that the business had closed.

“Loved this place — food was always fresh, great staff,” said former Councilwoman Fran Adelson. “Hope whatever they’re doing works out for them.”

“Big loss for Long Beach,” wrote Judi Vining, executive director of Long Beach AWARE, who said that Pure Shore supported the local nonprofit organization, which works to prevent substance abuse among young people.

“This was such a nice addition to the East End,” added Kristin Camarinos. “Great owners and the tacos were delicious.”

Donnelly thanked his customers and Project 11561 for the support, saying "Chef Chad and I are super proud of what we created. It was a very difficult decision."

Pure Shore is one of several unique dining spots that closed in Long Beach over the past year that many residents said added to the city’s restaurant scene, including WildFeast, a farm to table eatery on Park Avenue, and Copper & Clay, a nearby taqueria run by the same owners. (The Whale’s Tale, meanwhile, a longtime staple in the West End, was recently sold to a new owner and will reopen under a new name).

Ian Danby, the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce’s board president, said that the recent closures were a loss for the city’s dining scene.

“I don’t know what the situation was as far as rent,” he said, referring to Pure Shore. “But the commercial property tax is increasing 20 percent, and you know that will trickle down to anyone who’s paying rent. It’s such a huge increase, and can potentially put people out of business. I don’t know if that had any effect on this particular situation — every situation is different, but it always comes down to money.”

Bourne said that overall, the city’s dining scene continues to thrive, citing the opening of several new restaurants such as Five Ocean by the beach on New York Avenue; Roc & Olive, which recently replaced Lola’s on Park Avenue; Beach Burger on the boardwalk; and a new brewery that’s expected to open this fall in the center of the city on Park Avenue, across the street from City Hall.

“I think in general, the restaurants are doing well, and we have a strong brand in Long Beach that attracts people to come here for a unique dining experience,” she said. “Overall, we have more of a variety of food options and various types of cuisines that would interest a diverse group of people.”