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Earth Wind and Flour owner Dennis Klempner. (photo by Michael Ryan)

It was 30 years ago that Dennis Klempner and his business partners were sitting around a table banging their heads together trying to figure out a name for their new restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard. Through the ordeal, a song by Earth Wind and Fire came on the radio, the proverbial light bulb flickered on, and Earth Wind and Flour was born. Pizzas and pastas being the featured items on the menu, flour is indeed the foundation to this Santa Monica staple.

Dennis gained an affinity for Italian food from his upbringing. Surprisingly enough, origins of the Klempner name are not Calabrese, Neapolitan, nor Florentine. Dennis is not from “the old country,” but when he was 15 he learned a thing or two while working at an Italian restaurant in the San Fernando Valley called the Pizza Peddler. Fast forward to today, and you will find Earth Wind and Flour loaded with Italian-American offerings.

Besides the obligatory pizza and pasta specialties, Earth Wind and Flour also has a variety of sandwiches, salads and burgers. They also have a full service bar adjacent to the dining area, and advertise $5 frou-frou martinis as well as your standard selection of beers. The pizza is made “Boston style,” which can probably be best described as a cross between New York thin crust and a Chicago style deep dish. It is baked in a pan, so the outside crust rises high, but the middle is not quite as thick. I will be very inclined to give it a shot next time around.

Going with one of the pasta specialties, I indecisively felt like I was picking out of a hat. From pasta primavera, to lasagna, to eggplant parmesan, I randomly selected the chicken scallopini. The chicken was tender and covered with plenty of garlic, capers, and thin lemon slices. It was served with lightly steamed veggies, all on a bed of linguine, which was plain but al dente. Accompanied by a basket of warm sourdough rolls that I drowned in a dish of olive oil, the meal was satisfying and reasonably priced. Individual pasta plates range from $9.99-$13.99 and family-style portions that serve two and three, are $15.99-$18.99.

With saw dust on the ground, hundreds of playing cards stuck to the ceiling, and floral paintings that looked like they were purchased at the Holiday Day Inn garage sale, the decor is indeed an amalgamation of funky furnishings. Like Lady Gaga, this restaurant was born this way. All the more reason to come as you are. Plus, every Sunday night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. is magic night with Johnny Ace Palmer (which explains the playing cards stuck to the ceiling).

That is a prime example of why you should explore the neighborhood and seek out something never before experienced. You just might like what you discover. Start with a super casual scene, add some interesting art, fine pizza and pasta, and sprinkle in some Sunday night magic, and you will have yourself the best named restaurant in Santa Monica — Earth Wind and Flour.

Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike. To reach him visit his Twitter at twitter.com/greaseweek or his website at tourdefeast.net

If You Go

Earth Wind and Flour

2222 Wilshire Blvd.  

Santa Monica

90403-5706

(310) 829-7829

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