This from the Chez Jay Website: “One day in 1959, Jay Fiondella, then an aspiring actor and bartender at Sinbad’s on the Santa Monica pier was having breakfast at the Dawn Café after a particularly wild night. The cafe owner offered to sell it to Jay for $1, and Chez Jay was born. The rest is history!”
And what a history it’s been. Call it what you want: celebrity hang out, dive bar, classy joint, Chez Jay is one of the premier steak and seafood neighborhood restaurants in all of Southern California. It’s no wonder that in October of 2012, Chez Jay became an official Historical Landmark of the City of Santa Monica.
I have personally been coming here on and off for 30 years. And as Jay used to say before he died in 2008, “nothing much changes at Chez Jay.” And it’s true. It has the same quaint feel: Christmas lights, sawdust floors, fresh peanuts, and its longstanding original menu. Yes, it can be a bit cramped, but that’s part of the charm. And their prices won’t break the bank either. Start with the Scampi with Fresh Garlic & Shallots, or a bowl of Fresh Steamed Clams, then top it off with their Filet Mignon Béarnaise. In addition to the amazing history of the place, they offer generous pours and friendly, unpretentious bartenders and servers. Frank Sinatra was there once. So was Steve McQueen. Judy Garland. Marlon Brando. Mick Jagger. Tony Bennett. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote parts of Good Will Hunting there. Now, it’s your turn. Enjoy.
1657 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Chez Jay is just ½ block south of the Santa Monica Pier on the east side of Ocean Avenue right next to the incredible Tongva Park. 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, the famous Santa Monica beaches are just steps away. Call for reservations.
One of Chez Jay’s peanuts went to the moon with Alan Shepard and became as Jay called it the first “Astron-nut.” That peanut still resides in their family safe.