I was running scared when I first heard that the building Fritto Misto had been slated for development. As a true carboholic, the thought that one of my favorite pasta houses would be facing eviction sent a shiver up my spine. I’ve relocated restaurants in my 25 years of working with entrepreneurs and I know that it can be the death of a good restaurant.

So when I heard that Fritto Misto had been able to secure a spot, literally on the opposite corner of their block, I was ecstatic. It’s no guarantee of success, but it certainly helps.

I was lucky enough to be one of the first customers at the new location. They literally closed the old space on a Thursday and move the chairs and table overnight, and opened for lunch the next day.

Their new space is a bit tighter I think than the former home, but there is now an outside area, plus a bar area which has service at both the bar and at a few tall tables. Stylistically, there’s a bit of a clash between the comfortable old school table and chairs and the rather stark black and white painted interior with a seemingly low ceiling. I imagine it’s one of those things that will be redone over the coming months and years.

In a tip of the hat to the old, there is a lovely wall mural that was put in to remind the patrons of the old building. It’s a lovely touch of nostalgia and I thought it was a homey gesture and hope it’s an indicator of the future style. One of the things I loved most about the old location was its warmth and comfort. The close tables, the yellow walls and the wooden blinds all combined to make one feel like you were more in a cousin’s kitchen than a restaurant. The new color scheme is a bit more upscale and has a colder feel to me, but certainly not enough to drive me away.

I’ve eaten three times at the new location and twice I’ve ordered the same thing – the long wished for and awaited Bolognese.

It was always a question, why doesn’t this family restaurant have a traditional pasta dish on the menu? Turns out the reason is as simple as lack of space. In the old location, the kitchen wasn’t large enough, and the refrigerator didn’t have the capacity to support Bob the owner’s old family recipe for Bolognese.

I can unequivocally say – it was worth the wait.

As a cook myself, I make a stufato, which is a selection of meats stewed in tomato sauce, and heavily spiced that I learned at my mother’s side. As we all know, mom’s cooking is the best, because that’s what we grew up on. This Bolognese is as good as mom’s.

I’ve ordered it twice as part of a special menu item, Il carnivoro, which is a spaghettini with the Bolognese as filet mignon tips. The sauce is a slightly sweet, and robust tomato reduction that takes a couple of days for the preparation. It starts with a simmering of the sauce and the meats, that are then turned for a few days in the refrigerator before they are able to serve it. The maceration of the sauce and the meat creates a flavor profile that is both earthy and floral. The strong oregano came through and brought back memories of when my mom would test me to identify spices by smell.

On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant was standing room only from 6:15 when we got there until the end of the night. I was with a friend and we took a small table in the back by the bar. The people next to us were regulars as well, they’d been coming for a dozen years, always ordering the same thing. Friendly exchanges like that are what I was worried would be lost, and I’m happy to report the future looks bright for Fritto Misto and their new location on 7th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard, across from the Main Library which has lots of parking.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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