2020 has produced one million different ways to break our hearts. For me, the shuttered mom and pop shops, boom, right for the jugular. So when word floats my way that a Long Beach legacy is restored, reinvented, and resurrected, it’s not just a reason to try a new restaurant. It’s reason to celebrate one.
For eight years The Attic served as a communal common ground for the Long Beach masses. Housed in a corner hugging 1920’s craftsman, with interiors that evoke a hominess echoed in its southern meets New American menu, they’d circle the block awaiting brunch.
At the turn of the new year, owner Steve Massis brought on NYC ex-pat Chef Cameron Slaugh (Osteria La Buca, Eleven Madison Park), whose rural upbringing inspires his (#lifegoals) habit of planting the produce he plates. The seeds of such have already been rooted. While they grow, Slaugh has teamed up with local farmers and artisanal purveyors to elevate a menu spiked with a southern comfort and a farmer’s flair.
Inside, it’s folksy and fun, playful and welcoming. One of those places no one ever goes to once. And we’ll get back inside eventually. But for now, the patio, as it’s ever been, is the major pull. To accommodate our reality that is 2020, it’s been updated with canopying shades tilting automatically based on the set of the sun, allowing the brunch, lunch, and dinner menus to be enjoyed throughout. And a matching parklet has been installed to expand seating, limit waiting, and make social distant compliance something simple.
A fully face shielded staff is an immediate reminder of how much we’ve missed people, and that The Attic hires good ones. Service is genuine and gracious; smiles are felt if not seen. The cocktail program is full of fun. I began with the Feather, featuring gin, yellow chartreuse, orgeat, lemon, and rose water. Light and clean and that rosewater leaves a nice, lingering note.
Grandma’s cornbread, served in a skillet, slathered in caramelized honey, oh yes, absolutely yes. It is welcome back decadence delivered. The albacore crudo is a great choice too, with the kefir lime, watermelon and basil, refreshing and clean. And the heirloom tomato and strawberry salad, it arrives glistening and gorgeous – fabulous. And I almost passed on their house staple, the one that put them on the map, their mac and Cheetos (my internal David Rose was struggling with the Cheeto part). Would have been a big mistake. Served in a bubbling cauldron topped with those eponymous crunchies, you simply cannot eat this and take anything seriously at the same time. Reason enough. Also, it is outrageously good.
Main wise, I went for the Chicken Under a Brick, served with farro and a tang of herbs. Excellent. Tables around us enjoyed fried quail, tomahawk pork chops, rib eyes and clam bakes. Gabi had the grilled orata, which I meant to taste but I was too involved in my own. Purportedly it was delicious. And frankly, it was just so good to see people take such pleasure in eating out again. I’ve missed it.
To that end, this is not a place to question dessert. Their seasonal cobbler, on buttermilk crust, with vanilla ice cream and thyme, served in a skillet? Ridiculous! Or traditional New Orleans beignets? Oh, my friends. This is not a place to question dessert.
Long Beach is a great in between – not LA, not OC, but a central spot between the two. If there is any part of you ready to dine al fresco in a safe, strategic, and sanitized way, please pick up and take to the Attic. If any year has ever called for cobbler, or cornbread, or a Mac and Cheetos to make David Rose gasp, grab a spoon my friends. We can still dig into delicious.
The Attic, 3441 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803, USA.
Tel: 1(562) 433-0153
Take the 405 to Lakewood Boulevard in Long Beach and then Redondo Avenue to East Broadway. Street parking is available around the restaurant bur is mostly residential, just make sure to follow the street signs.
The restaurant is open Mondays from 11:00am to 10:00pm; closed all day Tuesday, open Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00am to 10:00pm; and open Friday to Sunday from 10:00am to 10:00pm.
Type of Restaurant: Southern Style Restaurant
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tip: Reservations highly recommended.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.
Photographs courtesy of The Attic