Cal Shabu * Santa Monica

The Inception of a "Japanese" restaurant

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

The Rise of Trapzilla!! Mean and Green!!

So much has happened in our blogging absence! We are getting very close to opening, and its actually starting to look like a restaurant. Hectic and obstacle-ridden is an understatement for what we’ve been through over the last month. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, so lets just get on with the build!

Part of Santa Monica’s regulations prohibit us from chopping up the concrete sidewalks and streets, so one of the few solutions we could find was a grease trap on steroids. This thing is so sick on paper! According to the manufacturer, it separates solids so effectively that they can be used as biodiesel grade fats. Its 630 gallon capacity works with higher efficiency than the standard in-ground concrete grease interceptors, so let’s hope we only need to pump this sucker every couple of months.

Looks like something from a Tonka Toy…

Solid Wall mount painted to match the boring white walls. I’d have the artists go to town in this car park if it were ours!!

All buttoned up, beautiful, and ready for some greasy goodness! This ended up being a plumbing nightmare. You can see that there’s barely enough drop in the line, but somehow we eeked by once again!!


Thank you Grub Street!

Grub Street Los Angeles: Cal Shabu Santa Monica’s 1st piece of publicity!!!

Thank you so much to the staff at Grub Street LA for noticing us, and just keeping their ears to the ground for all the foodies. The pressure is on, and we’re looking forward to living up to the hype! There is some good and bad news though. Bad: Our start date is pushed back until mid September. Good: I think mid September is really the date! The day we conquer Santa Monica’s planning process will be a day of disbelief and euphoria! Thank you for having faith in us Grubbers!


Just like my father, striving for perfection can be extremely troublesome. There was just something not quite right about the uneven gaps and chipped edges, so we made the painful and sheepish decision to tear everything down and start again from scratch. One more day in the books, 2 or 3 more extra work days added on top for our nitpicking.

Rafael is biting his tongue, as he rips off the first layer.



Translating a 3D rendering into reality is a slightly tougher task than expected, and things never end up working out like they were so perfectly planned in our heads. Changes always have to be made. So here is our rendering:

Here’s our first mockup.

The green just didn’t look right, so we backed up a little bit.

After deleting the green, it became apparent that it looked better without, so onto brainstorm plan b.

Looks pretty good now, but what you can’t see in the pics are the little detail problems: chipped edges, uneven gaps, grrr….

Putting Lipstick on a Pig!

Much to our chagrin, the landlord of our building seems set on promoting the 80’s Miami color palette, peach with teal trim. Ugh… So we decided that we would attempt to put a little lipstick onto this pig of a building.

How’s our makeup look so far???

Where has all our money gone???

Oh, thats where. I always thought the delivery of equipment meant we’re closer to completion, but somehow it just still seems so far away…

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