Frank Gehry and Wolfgang Puck Team Up

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Malibu is gearing up for a truly monumental opening in the near future, with the release of plans for a new Frank Gehry-designed restaurant to be helmed by Wolfgang Puck. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave the ‘OK’ to Wolfgang Puck on April 3 for the development of a new dining complex along PCH. The complex would replace the former seaside icon Gladstone’s, which has been in operation for over 50 years.

Architect Frank Gehry.

Architect Frank Gehry.

Gladstone’s is likely to stay open until the lease terminates in 2019 under former mayor Rick Riordan. Seeing declining sales from $9.8 million in 2014 to $7.7 million in 2016, Riordan placed Gladstone’s on the market. The restaurant, established in 1972, saw various closures in recent years for its inability to make necessary updates to the old building as well as to afford lease payments at the scenic 2.8-acre Will Rodgers State Beach parcel. This combination finally motivated county officials to push for redevelopment, during which Wolfgang Puck rose as a prominent competitor to take over the site’s lease.

The aged Gladstone’s building will be replaced with a complex designed than esteemed architect Frank Gehry. The Canadian-American designer is renowned for designing prestigious, imaginative buildings from the Guggenheim Museum in Spain to the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris and, of course, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Now, Gehry is bestowing Malibu with the newest addition to his gallery. Early renderings of the project depict Gehry’s iconic whimsical style, embellished with glass walls overlooking the ocean, and stacked block towers atop the primary structure. Gehry intends to pay tribute to the Malibu icon with a Gladstone’s monument. The unique design for the space will compliment Puck’s wish to incorporate both casual and fine dining options in his new space. The casual dining plans include a lounge, rooftop bar and ocean-side deck, as well as a market-style eatery featuring small shops and an ice cream parlor.

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Within the various restaurant areas, Puck will curate an assortment of dining options. Word is his new eatery will provide a seasonally fluctuating menu of locally-sourced, farm-to-table cuisine to best suit Malibu’s palate. In the recent hearing, Puck detailed that he intends to make the extraordinary location and dining accessible to all, including a “café where people can come and spend $12 or $15 for a meal,” Puck said.

“And we’re going to have an upscale dining area where people can have an amazing meal," he added. "They will come from all over the world.” 

The planned architectural feat and eatery will inherently be a draw for tourists, but also significant in its benefit to the Malibu job market, Puck said. In his appeal to the county, Puck highlighted that he intends to employ “over 300 workers,” emphasizing that locals would be given preferential treatment in competition for management positions.

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Furthermore, Puck suggested he would work to accommodate the workforce training programs initiated by the county, which assists homeless and unemployed veterans. As enticing as this proposal is, the deal has yet to be approved by the County Department of Beaches and Harbors. A negotiation agreement must first be reached between Puck’s team, PCH Beach Associates LLC, and county officials regarding the environmental impact, and intent to operate a new restaurant and related amenities. MM

Holly Bieler