After almost 30 years of providing a place for hungry locals to land, the Spitfire Grill will be wheels up next year as the popular restaurant has been sold to a new owner.

Spitfire will remain open for a few months while the new owners finalize their paperwork and current owner John Clarizio said he will miss the place, but he’s ready to move on.

“I’ve been here a long time and I need a break,” he said.

Clarizio, who was born in Santa Monica, has been in the local restaurant business for 33 years. He operated a successful business on the Promenade before buying the airport eatery 29 years ago. He said he’ll miss the people he sees every day, both employees and customers.

“In this type of restaurant, it’s like family with customers and employees,” he said. “Half the family you work with and half comes and visits and having those kind of locations in Santa Monica, they are becoming fewer and those are the ones we have to protect.”

He said passing the torch to a new owner who is equally committed to the community was important to him, particularly as the space needs a remodel.

“I decided it was better for me and for the location that it was somebody fresh and starting over with energy,” he said.

Irish entrepreneur Sean Martin will pilot the new venture, dubbed The Cloverfield.

Martin is a life-long restaurateur having grown up in the hotel owned by his parents. He parlayed two successful London pubs into a pair of critically acclaimed restaurants that he sold for one million pounds. He currently owns London’s Pregnant Man but he moved to Santa Monica in 2017 with his wife and child.

“In the two years since we arrived I have searched for a location in LA to start a bar and restaurant and believe in The Cloverfield I have found the perfect opportunity,” he said in his business plan. “I have been very lucky over the years to pull together a great team and after almost ten years working together, I envisage using their skills, in the kitchen and front of house, to help open The Cloverfield.”

He said the Italian inspired menu will have entrees starting at $10 and he wants the restaurant to be accessible at all price points.

“I see the revamped patio areas being a huge draw to the site, we want customers to feel as comfortable having a coffee as having a three-course dinner, creating an easy relaxed and accessible atmosphere is our objective.”

He said the revised restaurant will have elements of a classic London Bistro with Southern California elements.

Martin said he sees the revamped location as a place for everyone, including families with children.

“We want to cater to families slightly more,” he said, “We hope to have a play area in the outdoor area and a more kid friendly organic menu. A lot of restaurants’ kids menu feels ignored a little bit.”

He also wants to partner with schools and clubs to encourage the use of the adjacent athletic fields.

editor@smdp.com

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3 Comments

  1. That’s all we need – another “critically acclaimed restaurant”.

    “I see the revamped patio areas being a huge draw to the site, we want customers to feel as comfortable having a coffee as having a three-course dinner, creating an easy relaxed and accessible atmosphere is our objective.”
    Such nonsense – people already felt comfortable having a coffee or dinner! And it already had an “easy relaxed and accessible atmosphere” What a joke.

    “Martin said he sees the revamped location as a place for everyone, including families with children.”
    Again – IT ALREADY WAS THAT!

    “We want to cater to families slightly more”
    I always brought my family here, and so did a lot of people. What is he talking about?

    “We hope to have a play area in the outdoor area and a more kid friendly organic menu. A lot of restaurants’ kids menu feels ignored a little bit.”
    More marketing bullcrap, designed to appeal to the new generation of wussy, over-protective parents raising the next crop of self-centered little tyrants. The place was already kid-friendly, dog-friendly, and people-friendly.

    “He also wants to partner with schools and clubs to encourage the use of the adjacent athletic fields.”
    They already use those places! I see them all the time. More smoke and mirrors.

    Shame on Santa Monica for falling for this crap.

  2. I echo everything Benny said. How about the employees of Spitfire. They bring in the customers. A large percentage of the customers are regulars. It is so nice see customers come in and be greeted by the staff as if they are family. Long time employees and long time customers where every body knows your name. You can’t replace that!

    As a pilot I’ve been coming to Spitfire from day one. I came to Kitty Hawk the restaurant before Spitfire. We lose Typhoon and now we lose Spitfire. The Cloverfield…I will not be coming back and I’m sure many regulars will feel the same. What a shame!!

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