A Hollywood agent trying to open a new restaurant inside the Shore Hotel has become wrapped up in a years-long conflict between the hotel worker’s union and the hotel’s owners. The latest battlefront is an alcohol permit for the restaurant called Avery.
On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether to deny a conditional use permit for Avery after Unite Here Local 11 filed an appeal citing ongoing litigation between the Shore Hotel and the Coastal Commission.
The Shore and the Coastal Commission are scheduled to go to trial this summer over concerns the hotel did not provide adequate information during the permitting process and is thus operating illegally. Without a valid permit, the Shore could face millions of dollars in fines or be completely shutdown until meeting certain conditions.
In February, the Shore agreed to pay $100,000 in back pay to three workers as part of a separate settlement with Unite Here. Workers complained they were disciplined and then fired after testifying at the Coastal Commission that the hotel was violating its permits.
Unite Here’s research analyst Danielle Wilson is hoping the City Council will step in and make a statement about the Shore Hotel’s past actions by denying the alcohol permit for the restaurant.
“I think the bottom line for them is that they originally approved a limited amenity hotel and the Shore is trying to disobey that,” Wilson said. While the Shore did at one point list the new restaurant as an upcoming amenity, it has since taken the advertisement off its website.
There is limited information available about the restaurant called Avery that will be opening inside the hotel, except the owner is Peter Trinh, a Hollywood agent who also owns the Craftsman Bar and Kitchen in downtown Santa Monica.
“The Landlord has zero say in our operation and business,” Trinh said in a letter addressed to the City Planning Division. Trinh did not return the Daily Press’s phone calls asking for comment. In the letter, Trinh says his company, Full of Flavor LLC, is simply a tenant in a lease agreement and not involved in the legal dispute surrounding the Shore.
“We are really confused as to why we are getting dragged into a dispute between the Appellant and Landlord,” Trinh said.
City staff reached out to the Coastal Commission, and representatives told them pending litigation should not impact the CUP for alcohol service by a third party applicant, according to a staff report provided to the Council. City staff is recommending the Council deny Unite Here’s appeal and grant the permit.
The Planning Commission debated the issue over two separate meetings before granting the alcohol permit to Full of Flavor earlier this year. Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi said that absent a proven link between the restaurant’s owner and the Shore, he couldn’t deny the application.
While Full of Flavor is a distinct entity from the Shore Hotel, critics argue hotel guests will benefit from the proximity of the restaurant.
“There are a lot of question marks here for us and for the community,” Wilson said.
Avery will open regardless of the Council’s decision on the alcohol permit.