Supporters of Point Dume Business Plan to Protest Replacement Friday
• Owner of Center Offers Help with Moving Costs But Stands by Decision to Rent to Another Pizzeria
BY BILL KOENEKER
It is a study in contrasts how two very different Malibu restaurants, Guido's and Point Pizza, recently announced their closure, some community members' response and the subsequent possible outcomes for both.
In an interview with Point Dume Village shopping center owner Zan Marquis, the center owner reaffirmed that the Point Pizza eatery was out, but said he is very willing to help the owner relocate in Malibu or elsewhere. He said he has not heard about this offer from her yet.
When asked about Marquis' offer, Hyesong Oh said she did not take it seriously and cannot see how she could afford the cash, risk, or complications of opening a new takeout establishment.
But neither is Oh willing to terminate the business. "I'm not ready to retire [at 60]. I'm willing to work 10 more years," the Thousand Oaks resident said.
Marquis' decision to go with another eatery was met with a protest at the center last Friday.
The loosely structured coalition of Point Pizza supporters is indicating that it plans a similar protest rally at D'Amore's in east Malibu, the Italian restaurant that will open a second location in the space being vacated Dec. 31.
D'Amore's, a small chain of eateries with a much larger menu than Point Pizza, is owned by a Malibu family. It has announced it will strive for all-organic and natural ingredients in keeping with a theme that Marquis says he wants to implement at the center.
When asked to comment on the furor surrounding her departure. Oh said, "I don't blame anybody. Zan has a right to choose anybody. I will miss the customers. It is very sad to separate from them."
Marquis said he is still struggling with his decision, but is convinced it is the right one for the shopping center. "I've got $4 million invested in improvements in the center. I'm trying to improve this by offering goods and services for the neighborhood. That is my job and my prerogative," Marquis said.
Referring to the protesters, Marquis stated, "I can't subject leasing decisions to a committee."
Marquis indicated he also seeks to dispel what he called "falsehoods circulating" around town. "I am a partner with only one retailer in this center. I don't have an agenda about partnering with anyone else. There are no plans to replace Lily's or the pharmacy. I'm actually helping by opening a public restroom for Lily's to expand her dinner business."
In the center of the community, Malibu Village shopping center owner Matt Khoury said he believes he and some local residents are very close to signing a deal for the space housing Guido's.
There have been no protests at Malibu Village over the apparent shuttering of Guido's, which for years has been the unofficial watering hole for City Hall.
"I can't say who it is yet. I can't say it is done yet," the shopping center owner indicated, referring to the impending deal that is now under negotiation.
Khoury did indicate, however, that the management of Guido's is supposed "to be out now."
The center owner also noted he wants to wait before he publicly announces any specifics about the new establishment, other than to say it will be operated by locals.
In addition, Khoury indicated, "We are close to opening another restaurant in one of the vacant spaces" in Malibu Village.
Khoury said this new restaurant responds to Malibuites' requests for reasonably priced dining fare.
He added that he thinks Chipotle restaurant, which was approved by the planning commission in April, will open soon.
Khoury indicated that he thinks the three new food options may lead to Malibu Village becoming many local residents' favorite "dining-out" destination.