Rumor Confirmed: Dunkin’ Donuts Coming to Westlake Village

 

Neighbors, it is confirmed. Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to Westlake Village!

I might have a tear of joy in my eye as I type this.

dunkin donuts coffee cup

Coming soon!

I received a wonderful voice mail message today from a rep at CBRE, the property management company for North Ranch Gateway, otherwise referred to as the TJ Maxx plaza at Thousand Oaks and Lindero Canyon. We’ve all seen the construction and facelift that plaza is getting. My kids remark on it every day as we drive past, and it’s a source of curiosity for everyone in town.

The rep confirmed that Dunkin’ Donuts will occupy part of the building that once housed Barbecues Galore. (The other part will be a Bank of America.)

Vacancies are filling up at North Ranch Gateway!

The rep also said that a nail salon and a Brazilian grill will be moving into the plaza, and that they’re in talks with some other restaurants as well. Their targeted timeline is to have these businesses open and ready for business by the end of the year or early in 2017. Here is how I feel about this:

I was pretty excited about finally making my pilgrimage to the Santa Monica @DunkinDonuts. #donuts

A photo posted by Kim Prince (@kimtracyprince) on

Stay tuned for more news and information as we get closer to this glorious day. (This post is brought to you only by my lifelong love of their coffee and glazed donuts.)

School’s Out, But Public School 805 Is in Session (CLOSED)

UPDATE: This business has closed. Sad. They made really good gin and tonics.

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Night school

Tucked away in an overlooked corner of the Westlake Promenade shopping center at Westlake and Thousand Oaks Boulevards is the new restaurant Public School 805, or PS805. It opened this week hoping people will get wind of its existence. Luckily for me, I got an email about it, so I went to the media preview, took my seat, and got my lesson.

The interior of PS 105 is resplendent with construction materials like wood and steel, props that support its theme including a small wall made of bleachers and a larger wall festooned with lacquered vintage catcher’s mitts. The space is open and utilitarian with a large window into the kitchen, industrial light fixtures, and austere tabletops. There are plenty of nooks but only one large table for big groups. Marketing director Karen Sabourin told me that there is a space for larger parties behind The Grill next door; maybe they’ll borrow it in the future.

Wall o'bleachers

Wall o’bleachers

For your small lunch or dinner group, though, it’s fun to enter PS 805 and see the school-themed elements. A basket of shiny red apples on the hostess stand. The menus that look like composition notebooks, noting a “study group”course (to split with friends) and “recess” (happy hour) which happens Monday through Friday 4-7pm, featuring $4 drinks and appetizers from $4 to $6 in the bar. Coming soon? “The Breakfast Club.”

menu

photo by Lexi Roehner

The bar, naturally, has its own mixologist who delighted me with a drink called the “Juice Box.” I had invented a similar beverage years ago out of sheer necessity – it consisted of Juicy Juice and vodka. This libation, however, was a sublime mix of golden rum, apricot marmalade, and vanilla bitters, garnished with a dried apricot. My friend Lexi tried the Agua Fresca, a surprisingly tasty watermelon martini, straight up.

drinks

Food on the menu at this event included a starter to share, a dinner entree, and a surprise dessert – chef’s choice. As we sampled our charcuterie tray (“The Cutting Board,” with the sweetest carmelized onions I’ve ever tasted), we saw desserts being carried out to earlier diners. Which one would we get?

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Prosciutto, fig jam, Marconi almonds, etc.

For dinner, I had the jidori brick chicken and white bean ragout, and Lexi had the Tuscan chopped salad, made with kale. The chicken was a tender juicy organic dish, skin on, just the right crispiness. Although it was only offered with the lamb burger which I did not order, the chef brought out some “brown bag fries” for us to sample. After all, one cannot judge a restaurant’s mettle without tasting its French fries. These were served in a cut off brown bag, true to their name, with honey mustard sauce and sriracha ketchup on the side. They were tasty, but not the number one reason I would recommend PS805.

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The number one reason I would recommend trying PS805? It’s cute. The nostalgic food theme, the business’s support of local schools (on the night of this media dinner, drinks were on a cash bar basis, with all proceeds to benefit The Conejo Schools Foundation, a group that seems similar to Las Virgenes’ THE Foundation), the decor and menu, even the feedback card presented at the end of the meal, labeled “report card” and asking the diner to grade the business on different areas of service, all create an experience that at the very least gives you something to talk about. I would dine there again, simply to taste more of the drinks (and possibly sample one of the 40 beers) and try a few different foods. Our dessert was a cute presentation of PS805’s take on the PB&J: two large peanut butter cookies each with a dollop of sweet jam in the centers, served with a cold glass of milk. Just one. For dipping.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Is Coming To California!

This just in…

DUNKIN DONUTS IS COMING TO CALIFORNIA!

Did I say that loud enough?

I grew up in Connecticut, and I started drinking coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts when I was in high school and my bus stop was right in front of one of their locations.  I’ve been a devotee of the chain ever since, and I visit one whenever I travel into DD territory.  My family ships me packages of their coffees.  I always hit the DD stand at Bradley International airport on the way back to California after a visit.

Hello, lover.

I have a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup Christmas ornament.  There are days when I pine for a DD fresh hot coffee:  medium hazelnut regular (with cream and sugar, in East-Coast-speak).

Today on the Dunkin’ Donuts website, CEO Nigel Travis announced the expansion of the franchise into California, with stores planned to open in 2015.  Even though that’s still a long way away, when I read this news, I felt faint with excitement.

“We are now actively seeking franchisees to open Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernadino, Ventura and Orange Counties in California,” says Travis.

Which one of you will be the first to open a Dunkin’ Donuts in the Conejo Valley?  Tell me.  I’ll be your best friend.