Who's Coming to Town?
Now that The Park at Cross Creek is open, a host of new tenants will be opening their doors in the coming months. From old-time Malibu favorites to fresh faces, Malibu Magazine takes you on a tour of what’s to come.
Written by Barbara Burke
They’re hip, with innovative, interesting vibes and expansive, inviting storefronts that beckon people to stop and take a look, to lean in and linger, to join in the fun. Over the next few months, several new establishments are opening at The Park at Cross Creek, a multi-building development featuring Whole Foods as the anchor business. Malibu Magazine took a tour to get a feel for what’s on at the new venue.
There is something for everyone on the culinary scene. There are proprietors providing high-end services, including a business offering professionally-curated, attention-to-even-the-littlest-detail dry cleaning, an optometrist that has been a Malibu favorite for years, and a place where one can get her nails done. Crystals abound at another shop and Topikal Everything Hemp Store offers hemp-based health and beauty products. There’s even a store with cozy, comfy, casual wear that is perfect for Malibu’s marine-layer-blessed days.
“Landlord Steve Soboroff has always promoted a positive, locally driven energy in his projects,” said Salvatore Sampino, manager of the Malibu Eye Center who is opening Malibu In Sights as a new venue in the development. “The Park has a holistic, healthy, linear vibe which distinguishes it from any other shopping center in the area.”
Lenise Soren of Sorenity Rocks Malibu agrees. “I’ll be helping The Park curate events to support our tenants and the community in the amphitheater,” Soren said. “Steve Soboroff is a visionary who has done an incredible job choosing tenants who will contribute fresh and innovative wellness-oriented goods and services to the future of Malibu’s retail market. The chemistry of our tenants feels like when you cast a powerful ensemble for a great play.”
Let’s go on a tour.
If one enters the complex from Civic Center Way they’ll catch some of Malibu’s favorite restauranteurs, Howdy and Linda Kabrin, who are opening Howdy’s Sonrisa Café in The Park. The café will offer fresh, innovative cuisine intersecting healthy comfort food served on an expansive, enclosed patio. The new restaurant will bring back some of the dishes that Malibuites loved for twenty years when the couple operated Howdy’s Taqueria, while also introducing new nutritional choices.
“The restaurant is named to honor my daughter Gaby who was tragically killed in South Africa,” Howdy said. “Sonrisa means smile in Spanish and every morning when we woke up, my daughter and I would talk about waking up with a smile. Gaby, mi hija, is my inspiration for opening this restaurant and together with my wife and I and our terrific staff, including Benjamin, my wonderful manager, we are bringing smiles to Malibu.” Having Howdy’s as one of the restaurants at The Park was very important to Soboroff.
“I’ve always felt that Howdy is synonymous with Malibu,” he said. “Howdy is Malibu and Malibu is Howdy.”
During Malibu Magazine’s visit with Howdy near his new restaurant, long-time customer Ron Manger happened by. “So looking forward to having Howdy’s back,” Manger said. “They are the best and they have the best soup!”
Howdy smiled and said, “We’re excited to be back in Malibu and bring that Howdy energy back to Malibu – Howdy’s in Malibu is an experience. It’s not just the food, it’s the friendliness, the relationships we have with all our customers that really sets us apart, and that tradition will continue.”
Sorenity Rocks Malibu
As one exits Howdy’s and heads towards Whole Foods, they encounter Sorenity Rocks Malibu, one of the world’s premier crystal interactive wellness galleries, a venue with ceilings so high that it can accommodate some of the largest crystals in the world.
“There will be a private session room where we will offer a variety of healing modalities and wellness education,” said proprietor Lenise Soren. “Guest practitioners will offer alternative wellness practices, such as brain-based physical therapy, solfeggio tuning forks and crystal wellness treatments.”
Malibu Gives, Soren’s charity supporting art, wellness and community in Malibu and beyond will also have a presence at the gallery. The store will also offer jewelry designed by local artists, books from local authors and a cozy book nook for readers of all ages to enjoy. Malibu Gives Mail will also be providing private mailbox services that were previously offered by PC Greens.
Sorenity Rocks Malibu is opening later this year and already has its beautiful, large crystal angel’s wings outside the store’s entrance. The venue welcomes customers to take pictures in front of them and post their pictures on social media at @SorenityRocksMalibu for a chance to win monthly photo contests.
“We’re very excited to open at The Park,” Soren said. “The store will change its inventory on a monthly basis to highlight different mines and we will offer crystal meditations and interactive crystal events where attendees can sit, stand and lay in, on and around the largest crystals in the world and feel their energy.”
Ubiquitous at The Park these days is the talented Steven Olshan, whose firm Olshan & Associates is handling the tenant improvements for five of the companies and is consulting with two others. Olshan is ensuring that each venue maintains its unique ambiance and that each store’s vibes permeate their space. This dedication is illustrated wonderfully in Olshan’s workBarefoot Dreams, a shop featuring upscale, cozy-chic apparel for women, men, children and pets, as well as an array of distinctive accessories. Barefoot Dreams has been in business in Malibu since 1994, but this is its first brick and mortar location. The company was founded by proprietor Stan Cook’s (pictured above) late wife, Annette Cook, who envisioned creating a collection that was elegant, soft and soothing to the senses.
“Each of the venues has its own feel and there will be a lot of lovely wood and a beachy vibe at Barefoot Dreams,” Olshan said.
Continuing on to Whole Foods, one will come upon The Nail Spa at The Park, a venue owned by Don Nguyen, who provided nail services at a business near Ralphs for years.
“I’m back in Malibu and delighted to be here,” Nguyen said. “We will offer waxing and traditional manicures and pedicures, as well as acrylic nails and we will also feature organic gel treatments using Biogel.” The Nail Spa is slated to open in late July.
Topikal Everything Hemp
Topikal Everything Hemp is the next venue that customers will encounter on their tour. Founded by brothers Greg and Gary Avetisyan in 2015, the first CBD only retail boutique in California is opening its third location at The Park.
Topikal Everything Hemp offers products using whole plant hemp. The CBD used is grown and extracted in the United States. The company focuses on educating customers about how hemp-based products can provide pain relief. Its merchandise includes pain creams, salves, tinctures, Zen Pens and beauty products, all aimed at providing refreshing relief and fostering health.
“We opened our first store with a concept that people can use CBD for a lot of pains,” Gary Avetisyan said. “Both my brother and I used CBD for ailments and found great relief from using it and we succeeded from using CBD for ourselves. A lot of friends and family found they could benefit from it and then, we decided to make it accessible to all.”
Topikal prides itself on the fact that it is a go-to source for CBD for pets as well and that is utilizes both a third-party lab and in-house rigourous product testing process to ensure that customers receive the CBD without any hint of THC, and thus without any psychoactive effect.
“We’re hoping for the architecture and design processes to go smoothly and we hope to open by the end of August,” Avetisyan said.
Door to Door Cleaners
The honor of being California’s 2018 Dry Cleaners of the Year was awarded by the California Cleaner’s Association to Door to Door Valet Cleaners & Tailors, a longtime Southern California favorite. The cleaners, now in their 25th year of operation, will open at The Park in the next few months and will offer toxin-free dry cleaning, hand-finished laundry and in-home tailoring, as well as on-site services including home remediation after fires and floods. Supported by an award-winning 15,000 square-foot processing facility, and offering pickup and delivery, the company focuses on quality and service, according to owner Sajid Veera, who operates the family business with his brother Habib.
“We will offer all the services featured at our other locations, such as factory-finished shoe and handbag repairs, wedding dress storage and cleaning, fire and water damage restoration of garments, alterations and tailoring and home remediation services in the event there is fire, smoke or flood damage,” Sajid told Malibu Magazine. “Our repertoire of services also includes hand-finished bed and table linen cleaning and suede, leather and fur cleaning.”
Sajid noted that the company offers onsite cleaning for large pieces of furniture and window furnishings such as roman blinds. Cleaners use the same toxin-free cleaning products and technology as they use to clean customers’ bespoke garments and fine silks and cashmeres. Door to Door hopes to open at the end of August, depending on permitting and construction completion. The company will be open six days a week and will be closed on Sundays.
Many in Malibu already use Door to Door for their cleaning and restoration needs. “I have antique carpets and tapestries and there was smoke in the house after the Woolsey Fire and Door to Door picked up the carpets and tapestries and did a great job of cleaning them,” said Malibuite Ellen Olivier. “Indeed, they found some places that were worn and restored them. Sajid also has someone on staff who is familiar with rug-making.”
“We’ve been servicing the Malibu area with our pick-up and delivery service for a few years,” Sajid said. “With increased activity due to helping people after the fires, a lot of those clients needed wardrobes and furniture cleaned and they convinced us of the need to have a physical location in Malibu.”
Next to one of The Park’s most delightful sites – the playground that accommodates special needs children – sits Café D’Amore’s, the brain child of the model, producer and actress Christiana D’Amore.
“With Café D’Amore’s, we will lower the ceilings to make it have a lovely restaurant feel,” Olshan explained, painting a picture of the upscale restaurant that Christiana and her husband Joe D’Amore will open. “The venue has beautiful outdoor seating where customers can enjoy beer and wine and the side that faces the playground will have a window so that people can pick up food while their kids are playing.”
“Café D’Amore is my baby,” Christiana said. “The restaurant will be a wonderful go-to place for breakfast and will be a hybrid between a sit-down venue and a pizzeria that will offer a host of specialties.”
“I’ve always loved to cook and I am extremely health-conscious,” she said. “Our food will be full of herbs and fresh ingredients and we will have weekly soups and excellent salads.” Lunch and dinner will feature Joe’s special pastas, fish and meat dishes, delicious sandwiches and individual pizzas. Christiana noted that the venue will offer a variety of gluten-free and dairy-free options.
“I want people to know that our restaurant is all about community,” Christiana said. “Locals with specialty products can contact us to see whether their items are a fit for our restaurant. My dream is to have a restaurant that the community can be involved in.” Café D’Amore’s hopes to open between the end of July and mid-August.
Malibu in Sight
Many owners of establishments opening at The Park credit Steve Soboroff for his curation of a repertoire of businesses that many in the community hope will merge to make Malibu more special.
One such company is Malibu In Sight. “Dr. Gregory O’Connor started the Malibu Eye Center in 1980,” said Salvatore Sampino, Practice Manager at the Eye Center. “I joined in 2002, and renovated the practice in 2006, with an elegant and exotic mix of crystal, marble, granite and steel to highlight a unique, bespoke eyewear collection from all over the world. We cater to the eclectic, creative Malibu community. This is our hallmark and our flagship.”
The new location at The Park will be called Malibu In Sight, Sampino said, explaining that the product mix “will be complementary, with such organic lines as Stella McCartney, the contemporary Police and Spektre, the classic Randolph and trendy Saint Laurent, and the Balenciaga and Mykita artistic collaborations.”
Sampino noted that Malibu In Sight will carry organic children’s eyewear as well.
“Our company will have a more holistic, high-tech millennial vibe,” he said. “It will not so much be aimed at a millennial clientele, but will utilize a different approach to elevate the awareness and importance of eye care within this demographic.”
The spacious eye center will perform state-of-the art eye examinations and will fill prescriptions for eyewear and contact lenses. “Our turnaround time will be between two and five business days for most prescriptions,” Sampino said. “Malibu In Sight seeks to open its doors in December.”
The Real Coconut
Already a popular favorite in Tulum, Mexico, The Real Coconut opens their first U.S. location at The Park. But The Real Coconut isn’t just a resstaurant; it’s a movement. “Conscious kitchens for you and our world,” is the theme summing up the restaurant’s culinary philosophy.
“Over the last four years, we have pioneered unique and delicious menus in Tulum, free from grain, gluten, dairy, corn, soy and refined sugar,” co-owner Charlie Stuart Gay said. “Good fats are vital for our health and we cook only with minimal amounts of avocado and coconut oils. We focus our recipes around easily digestible plants, particularly those that are globally abundant, have multiple uses and grow rapidly without the need for pesticides or intense irrigation.”
Gay and his wife Daniella Hunter are behind the vision for the restaurant and the company’s partner food line. “We love coconuts, but we also love yucca (Cassava), plantains and hemp, as well as anything green and leafy,” Gay said. “Our restaurant promotes plant-based choices as the basis of meals, and we offer options of sustainably sourced, pasture-reared or wild-caught animal proteins from local farmers and fisherman. We employ a nose-to-tail methodology wherever possible.”
After experiencing epicurean delights at The Real Coconut in Tulum, many customers have asked the couple to bring the restaurant to the U.S., Gay said, adding that he and Hunter “are delighted to start that process in Malibu.”
“Can we sustainably feed ourselves and our growing global population, while at the same time working towards supporting and healing the planet?” asks Hunter, whose inspirational, admonitory aspirations for a more ethical and equitable world first spawned The Real Coconut. “This is the question we ask ourselves daily as we influence and disrupt the food and beverage industries through the developments within The Real Coconut, and the query corresponds to the urgent direction for our planet as set out in the U.N. Intergovernmental 2019 Bio-diversity & Eco System report.” Stated another way, the couple is committed to ensuring that they source their products in a way that supports sustainable farms which employ ethical practices.
“We have the largest square footage space on our side of Whole Foods Plaza,” Gay said. “We’ll have a lovely casual restaurant and our large kitchen is designed to support both the restaurant and catering, and it will offer healthy options to Malibu residents.”
Now, for a sneak peak at the menu. Coconut ceviche in lime juice sounds intriguing, as do the plant bowls, wellness shots and beverages like probiotic kefir lemonade. Where else in Malibu can one get yucca and taro fries? The Real Coconut is the real deal and Malibuites are very excited for it to open.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Finishing a tour of The Park, one will need to stop by the last lovely venue, which opened July 6. Riding the third wave of coffee, it is apropos that Blue Bottle, an upscale coffee shop, should have a Malibu presence.
“Blue Bottle’s Malibu café offers seasonally changing single origin coffees for espresso and drip coffee, as well as a rotating selection of blends,” said Rose Bridges, Local Marketing Manager. “Guests can enjoy liège waffles, avocado toast, overnight oats, and pastries baked daily and sandwiches from our seasonal culinary menu.”
As with the other venues, the ambiance intrigues. “The Malibu café evokes a traditional modern design that plays with various types of woods and cuts, referencing the history of lumber yards surrounding the area,” Bridges said. “The inside of the cafe boasts extra wide double doors that open up to the inviting patio, a space that creates a feeling of bringing the outdoors inside.”
Blue Bottle will also offer brewing classes, a staple of the Bay-Area-based brand. Originally founded in Oakland 15 years ago, the company has expanded to include international locations, and counts a reputation for high-quality beans and an educational arm for curious coffee-drinkers.
Like the other vendors, Blue Bottle can’t wait to open in Malibu.
“Blue Bottle is so excited to be joining the city of Malibu,” Café Leader Matt Uramoto said. “Our café will be a gathering spot for the community and a great place to grab coffee before heading to the beach. We can’t wait to meet our new neighbors.” MM