Boardwalk restaurant that celebrated local history will become part of it on Sunday
Danny’s Venice, a causal boardwalk eatery where locals mixed with tourists amid a plethora of photos and memorabilia celebrating the community’s unique heritage, will serve its last meal on Sunday after opening more than a decade ago.
Owners Danny Samakow and James Evans, who also operate James’ Beach and the Canal Club, announced the impending closure on Nov. 11 in a thank-you note to their diners.
“The restaurant business and Venice have undergone numerous changes in the last several years. Increases in food, labor, insurance, security, rent and other costs have made operating more expensive,” the note explains. “Although we took steps to minimize them, at a certain point it was no longer viable to stay open.
Neither Samakow nor Evans could be reached for comment, so what happens to the restaurant’s art and artifacts collection, including an early 1900s Venice of America gondola, is not yet clear.
“There isn’t a Venice museum. Danny’s is the next best thing,” said local artist Suzy Williams, who’s been singing jazz and blues at the restaurant on 23 Windward Blvd. for the past eight years.
But Danny’s didn’t just celebrate Venice history, it also hosted grassroots community events that connected past to present. The restaurant was ground zero for the Venice Mardi Gras parade, a revival of tradition from the days of founder Abbot Kinney, contributed to a community effort to restore the VENICE sign at Pacific and Windward avenues, and this year launched the inaugural Venice Pride celebration following the closure of Roosterfish.
“This election reminded us that change is the only constant, and sometimes it is both unexpected and not what we’d like,” reads the note by Samakow and Evans. “Over 10 years ago, we started Danny’s to connect the Venice community and visitors to the rich history that is the heritage of Venice, connect visitors and locals to each other, and connect families and friends to excellent American fare, music and good times. We believe we have done all that. … We are part of Venice. We will continue working with this community as we all move forward together.”