Meat sauce and cocktails will welcome Fritto Misto when it moves. (Madeleine Pauker)

Fritto Misto may be moving a few blocks away, but it will keep the same familial atmosphere that has kept local diners loyal to the restaurant for 29 years, said owner Robert Kerr.

“It will be the same menu, the same prices and the same staff,” Kerr said. “Even though the space looks slicker and more upscale, I want people to know we’re not going that route. We’re still funky small-town guys — that’s who we’ll always be, but with a little more polish and some new paint.”

The popular Italian restaurant will move to the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 7th Street before its current location at 601 Colorado Ave. is demolished to make room for an eight-story building with 140 apartments and space for four businesses on its ground floor. Kerr tentatively plans to relocate just after the new year.

Kerr said he originally planned on moving east and negotiated for a space on Wilshire Boulevard in Mid-City, but he started having second thoughts and decided to survey his customers to see where they lived.

He found that the majority of his customers walked to Fritto Misto from elsewhere in Downtown Santa Monica. More than half lived in nearby apartments, and he was shocked to discover that a third were tourists.

“I would lose those people if I were to move further inland,” he said.

Kerr chose 620 Santa Monica Blvd. because of its size and parking options, he said.

“It’s a very nice space and it’s the right size for us,” he said. ‘There’s parking at the library across the street, which is actually a better parking situation than we’re in now.”

Some of Fritto Misto’s familiar features will be transferred to the new location. The restaurant’s repurposed wine crate tabletops will be hung on the walls alongside a mural of its old-school blue storefront, Kerr said.

But the Santa Monica Boulevard space also offers new possibilities for Fritto Misto. For the first time, the restaurant will have the kitchen space required to make meat-based sauces, Kerr said. It will also have a bar serving Italian cocktails and an enclosed patio.

“We often have a wait at the restaurant, and right now, we have people sitting outside in plastic chairs. In the new location, people could potentially be sitting inside at a comfortable lounge and have a drink while they’re waiting,” he said. “But I want to emphasize that we’ll continue to be a family restaurant.”

Although Kerr said he was originally disappointed to lose the building that Fritto Misto has occupied since 1990, he and the restaurant’s staff are excited about the transition.

“I did try to buy the building — it was my intention to keep it as the last old building in Downtown Santa Monica — but our landlord sold it to a big company in the end,” Kerr said. “I hope the new tenants will enjoy it here and become our customers over in the new place.”

madeleine@smdp.com

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  1. Fritto Misto will be opening at new location @620 Santa Monica Blvd.(7th & Santa Monica Blvd. ) on Thursday 1/9/20. Lots of metered parking at The Santa Monica Library! Same Menu, Same Staff,New Corner! Cant wait to see you there.

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