To those who insist on recognizing the obvious
it may look like a decaying 50's dive. But it always has. "Why mess with perfection?" is the reason given by 75-year young owner Jay Fiondella. His formula of serving gourmet food, stiff drinks, and maintaining a celebrity friendly atmosphere (no cameras, no autographs) has been working like a dream for 44 years and counting. Over the years everyone from Frank to Cher to Madonna has been a Chez Jay's customer. This may be the single greatest surviving original showbiz beach joint on the planet.

How many places can claim visits from both Judy Garland and Drew Barrymore? Jim Morrison and Julia Roberts? Peter Sellers and Joe DiMaggio? The Weather Underground and the Manson Family? Henry, Jane, Peter, and Bridget Fonda? Lenny Bruce and Bruce Springsteen? Lana Turner and Michelle Pfeifer? Henry Kissinger and Ed Keinholz? Diana Ross and Diana Dors? Natalie Wood and Ed Wood? It's been a surreal stream of personalities and cultural symbols intermingling in a tiny dark space near a big ocean for over four decades. I doubt if any four walls have witnessed the popular culture diversity that has passed through the Chez Jay's porthole. It's all celebrated there daily in an invigorating sea blasted atmosphere seasoned with nostalgic stardust and chased with a shot of bourbon.

You name it...it happened at Chez Jay's.

~ Jon Stebbins

Read an excerpt from the upcoming book about Chez Jay's by Jon Stebbins.

(The following is exerpted from www.chezjays.com.)
Chez Jay on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California has been serving locals, celebrities and visitors for over 44 years. Known as a celebrity "dive" or hangout throughout its history, Chez Jay is one of the premiere steak and seafood neighborhood restaurants in all of Los Angeles, offering a unique and friendly atmosphere, as well as those famous faces that have and still do frequent the restaurant and call it their favorite spot.

This well-known hideaway is on Ocean Avenue just * block south of the Santa Monica Pier, on the east side of the street. It is in the heart of the civic center district, steps from the third Street Promenade and many of Santa Monica's best hotels, and of course, just on the bluff above famed Santa Monica beach. A stroll to Chez Jay is an easy one and a stroll home, even easier.

Chez Jay
is known for many things, but probably the two most prominent features are its friendly atmosphere and service, and its good food. Anyone and everyone is made to feel welcome for dining or those just in for a cocktail or glass of wine. Classic seafood, steaks and chops are served with recipes that rekindle fond memories of just great food. And, don't forget the bar --- classic cocktails, an excellent wine list and your favorite beer on tap. And, the peanuts served are famous --- they will tell you, a Chez Jay peanut even made it to the moon, but for this story, you need to visit first hand. The restaurant also has a private dining room available for parties, valet parking, and is open seven nights a week for dinner, Tues - Friday for lunch and Sat and Sunday for breakfast.

Read the review at www.losangeles.com

For more info, visit www.chezjays.com

See a map to Chez Jay's

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Chez Jay photos above courtesy Carole Dreier