OCEAN AVE — Santa Monicans looking for a place to dance the night away have flocked to Ma’kai restaurant and lounge located at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Broadway. It was practically the only place to hear dance music and grab a drink in Downtown after Gotham Hall closed a few years back.
Well, it’s time for last call. Ma’kai is currently being renovated by the folks behind Red O, the modern Mexican restaurant cheffed by innovator Rick Bayless. When the renovation is complete they’ll have a new outdoor dining area with fireplaces, according to an application filed with Santa Monica’s Architectural Review Board.
Red O’s chief financial officer said the plan is to convert the space into another Red O restaurant. There are currently Red O locations on Melrose Avenue and Fashion Island in Newport Beach.
The remodel is supported by city planners.
“The project scope is simple and consists of the redesign of the outdoor seating enclosures to include new material finishes, new glazing at the street level, and new paint on portions of the building,” the application reads. “The material selections include quality materials, including reclaimed cedar wood and IPE wood, that will enhance the strong pedestrian orientation which is appropriate at this location.”
Most people know Bayless from his highly rated PBS series “Mexico — One Plate at a Time,” and from his eight cookbooks. Red O’s menu features both authentic Mexican and lighter California-style dishes.