Sante La Brea Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?

Is Sante La Brea still open?

Current Status: >> CLOSED <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 2 | View All Season 2 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: November 20, 2008
Sante La Brea Address: 345 N La Brea Ave Los Angeles, California 90036
sante la brea update kitchen nightmares

Episode Recap

Sante La Brea was a Los Angeles, California restaurant featured on season 2 of Kitchen Nightmares.

Though the Sante La Brea Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in November 2008, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened earlier in the year

It was Season 2 Episode 11 of Kitchen Nightmares.

During season two in 2008, Gordon Ramsay visited Sante La Brea, a vegan and health food restaurant in Los Angeles.

Dean Santa La Brea owner on Kitchen NIghtmares

Sante La Brea was run by owner Dean Hamoui, along with his sons Arthur and Sammy.

Sammy is a bit foul-mouthed, haha, but he seems to really care about the restaurant.

At the time of the Sante La Brea Kitchen Nightmares episode, the restaurant had been open for around a decade.

Although it was in a great location on the popular La Brea Avenue, business had been suffering.

To make matters worse, Dean is dealing with over $200,000 in debt.

Dean always got stuck cleaning up after his lazy staff, manager Mark and chef Aurelio, which also led to friction in the restaurant.

People also don’t really know what Mark does, which leads to further discontent at the restaurant.

Mark Sante La Brea

The episode began with Gordon Ramsay arriving to meet with Dean.

Dean explained that the restaurant’s biggest issue is lack of money, which is true for most businesses, right?

However, once Gordon Ramsay tested the food, he quickly learned that the issue is more than just a lack of money.

To test things, Ramsay sampled the Turkey Patty Melt, Mogodoofu (Mogo Tofu?), and blackened Salmon, all of which he found disgusting.

Gordon has never heard of a “Mogodoofu”, nor have I. I’m not even sure if I spelled that right.

Gordon jokes that he didn’t know it meant “shit” in Chinese, lol.

Gordon Ramsay eating at Sante La Brea on Kitchen Nightmares

Then he inspected the fridge, where he discovered rotten and defrosted frozen food inside.

Dean told him it was not his responsibility to look after the food.

Instead, he shifted the blame and said it was the responsibility of Aurelio who was running late for his shift and not answering his phone.

Ramsay left and then returned for dinner time, where he witnessed Dean cleaning up after everyone and customers unhappy with the imitation meat products they had ordered.

After closing time, he sat down with the staff and lectured them about how no one takes responsibility for anything.

What’s more, the imitation meat products aren’t working and the place is way too filthy.

Dean also yelled at everyone for refusing to listen to him.

Ramsay introduced two new specials the next evening, a halibut dish and a shrimp salad.

To make his point, Gordon also had a policeman handcuff Dean so he couldn’t do everyone else’s work for them.

Dean handcuffed

Lol – it’s a bit overkill but I get the point that Gordon was trying to make.

Mark got sent home to change clothes after he was caught holding menus under his sweaty armpit while taking orders for customers.

Ramsay cleaned the entire restaurant overnight and introduced some more new menu items the following morning.

On their official Relaunch Night, Dean yelled at everyone again for not listening to him and Aurelio walked out in the middle of his shift.

He said the only way he’d return is if he got paid back the money he’s owed, so Ramsay paid him back out of his own pocket.

Although everyone in the kitchen was running behind, they somehow pulled together to make their customers happy.

Relaunch Night ended up being a success.

When Gordon leaves, he says that he truly believes that Sante La Brea can be successful.

Gordon Ramsay leaves Sante La Brea Los Angeles

He also gives Dean a hug and jokes about the “Mogodoofu” again.

So was the Kitchen Nightmares Sante La Brea restaurant episode a success?

Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this Los Angeles restaurant is still open in 2024 and beyond.

Sante La Brea Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Sante La Brea Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Los Angeles, CA.

Things seemed to start off well for the restaurant as it was open and doing well after Gordon’s visit.

In fact, Gordon Ramsay revisited the restaurant in Season 3 Episode 10, which aired in April 2010.

During his revisit after the episode aired, Ramsay discovered that Dean had retired and passed the business on to his sons.

What’s more, Dean had moved back to Syria (at least at that time).

Mark and Aurelio were gone too and the new manager was Sammy’s girlfriend, Dawn.

Sammy Santa La Brea son on Kitchen NIghtmares

Sammy explained that business had increased a bit since Relaunch Night and he gave Ramsay some new food items to sample, all of which he found delicious.

One of them was an imitation chicken dish called the Unchicken.

You can see the revisit in this YouTube video:

Is Sante La Brea still open after Kitchen Nightmares?

Despite things looking promising at the end of the episode, Sante La Brea ended up closing its doors permanently in June 2011, which is around three years after the Kitchen Nightmares episode.

The restaurant was sold in 2011 and replaced by a German restaurant called Wirsthaus, which had positive reviews soon after opening.

As of 2023, the old Sante La Brea Los Angeles CA location is still occupied by Wirsthaus, so the restaurant definitely seems to be doing something right.

Interestingly, there does seem to still be a plant-based restaurant in the same complex, named Honeybee Burger.

While that vegan restaurant has the same address as Sante La Brea, I’m pretty sure that Wirsthaus is occupying the actual unit that Sante La Brea was in.

Here’s the old Sante La Brea restaurant Los Angeles location in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:

Why Did Sante La Brea close?

According to comments from customers on Sante La Brea’s Facebook page, the place had gotten pretty popular by the time Arthur and Sammy sold it.

Customers believed the decision was because the owners were simply burnt out and needed a break.

Sante La Brea reviews after Kitchen Nightmares

At the time that Sante La Brea closed, it had an overall 4 star rating on Yelp, which includes reviews from both before and after the Kitchen Nightmares Sante La Brea episode.

Honestly, that’s pretty good for a restaurant that appeared on the show.

Reviews from after the episode aired also seemed to generally be quite positive, which is great to see,.

Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the Gordon Ramsay Sante La Brea visit…

5 star Yelp review from April 2011:

Sante La Brea, I heart you.

My friend took me here for dinner – a place that I never would’ve picked myself because I generally don’t go to vegetarian/vegan/”healthy” restaurants.

Then food here was incredible.

I had a salmon on rice with an amazing tamari-ginger-cream sauce.

And let me tell you about the vegan chocolate cake.

Absolutely delicious.

Sweet dark chocolatey, gooey, moist goodness.

And it’s freakin’ vegan!

We couldn’t believe it.


4 star Yelp review from April 2011:

Vegan/vegetarian cuisine is like a whole different world to me.

I always get a kick out of things that are created to taste like other things (meat candy for example.)

So a couple years back this place was known for being on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen nightmares.

He came in, reinvented all the dishes and the rest is history.

I wish I had eaten here when he was in town as I have no idea what was kept and what was changed from back then.

Came on a weekday, walked in and it was pretty empty.

Sat near the window and the waiter brought me water infused with orange or some sort of fruit. Not bad.

Ordered some sort of ravioli thing, gf ordered a salad. Both were very good!

For appetizers we got the Spinach quesadilla with cashew cheese, which was a bit runny but I keep forgetting to not compare vegan food with traditional cuisine, it’s all very experimental I know.

Service was decent, waiter was nice, ambience was dark but cozy.

No complaints, ill totally be back.

3 star Yelp review from March 2010:

I came here after watching Kitchen Nightmares.

The decor is still the same from the show.

The menus however are not, this place has a huge menu and was distracting to sort through all of it.

I’m not a Vegetarian, but the Baja Tostada was really good and did not make me miss meat at all.

I also ordered the Sante Curry, but didn’t think much of this.

I thought the food would’ve had some Ramsey magic, but it didn’t.

Very kind service and clean decor.

If I could I would give it a 3.5

Finally, here’s a screenshot of a very long four star Yelp review from April 2008 (which was before the episode aired on TV but after the actual Sante La Brea Gordon Ramsay visit):

Sante La Brea review

What happened to the Sante La Brea owners?

As I mentioned above, Sammy and Arthur said that Dean, their father, had passed the restaurant on to them and then moved back to Syria.

I’m not sure what happened to Dean after that.

I hope he was able to get out of Syria given what has sadly happened to the country since 2011.

Final thoughts on Sante La Brea restaurant

Sante La Brea seemed to start off well after the Kitchen Nightmares visit.

Business was up and it was doing well when Gordon Ramsay revisited it a year later.

Dean had also gotten out of the business and passed it on to his sons.

Sadly, it would close shortly thereafter and the property was sold to a new German restaurant named Wirsthaus.

As of 2023, Wirsthaus still occupies the old Sante La Brea Los Angeles location and seems to be doing well.

If you want to see some other Los Angeles Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out the posts for Burger Kitchen, La Frite, Casa Roma, and others.

You can see a map of all the California episodes on the full Kitchen Nightmares open or closed list.

And if you want to share your thoughts on the Sante La Brea Kitchen Nightmares episode, you can do so using the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2023-06-10 05:28

23 thoughts on “Sante La Brea Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

  1. IF they were infact burnt out they could have just closed temporarily instead of selling it completely. But I don’t know the situation so I won’t be making assumptions here.

  2. The father sounded like a little kid when he tried to manage his staff. That was the lamest kitchen Nightmares I’ve ever seen.

  3. I don’t think there is any such thing as “Mogadofu”. That was probably intended to be “Mapodofu” (麻婆豆腐).

  4. Once again it seems that a restaurant owner without food and beverage knowledge and experience has very little chance of long term success.
    If the owner can’t jump in and replace every position in his/her restaurant, the odds are not in their favor.

  5. I love Kitchen Nightmares and have been watching every episode for the last three days. Gordon Ramsey is a godsend but if the owners don’t embrace his guidance, they will surely fail! That being said, my desire to go our to dinner has disappeared! Many restaurants will kill you or at least put you in the hospital!

  6. That whole revisited episode was a farce. Sammy called me and asked me to come help them. He said Ramsay ripped them apart when he came and they hadn’t done anything to improve the restaurant and the revisited episode was scheduled in two weeks.

    I agreed to be the new executive chef and then I didn’t hear from him again so I took another head chef job and helped open a restaurant in studio city. Then all of a sudden he called me back. It was less than a week before Ramsay was to return.

    I told them I had already taken a position I was offered elsewhere and I liked my job. Plus, I told him it would be impossible to create a new menu, train the staff, and find new purveyors in a week. He told me that they just wanted to make it look like they took some of Gordon’s advice.

    I should have hung up on him right then, but instead I saw a career opportunity. I said, “if you can guarantee me that I can serve Ramsay my raw key lime pie on camera (previously I had been a pastry chef for Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco) that I would agree to help them clean, organize, and serve Gordon their best dishes I did my part, as the place was a disaster zone.

    I had the walk in organized and cleaned. Then they served me every single menu item. 99% of which was awful. But there were a couple dishes that were okay, so i made a few suggestions to improve them (both flavor and presentation wise).

    Unfortunately, that week I got deathly sick and missed my first day of work in my lifetime. I couldn’t make it to either job for a couple days and on the day of filming Sammy told me not to come in.

    I thought it was out of concern, but it was so that he and his brother could take all the credit for my efforts. I didn’t even get a mention, much less a thank you.

    Think I’m lying? Just ask the producer of the show. I sat down with him for 90 mins during a lunch and he had me tell him my entire culinary journey. No surprise they aren’t open. The place was a disgrace

    • Yes, I have easy access to the show’s producer. I believe you. I was there at that very moment. Everybody stood up and clapped and then a flashmob erupted straight out of nowhere and then we left home. I high fived Gordon Ramsey and we went home and made love and he made me some of the most amazing ravioli.

    • That’s my bad, I told Sammy not to call you, I thought it be more entertaining that way. But hey, you snooze, ya lose,

  7. Unfortunately the new restaurant that had been in the building was sucked up with the La Brea sinkhole. You can watch what happened on the NBC show La Brea.

  8. Sweaty Mark looked like he was the secret squeeze for the owner. Why was Mark decorating the restaurant? Why did Mark lend the owner $10K? Dean was crying way too much.

    Those two young men that were supposedly Dean’s sons looked nothing like Dean. I think there were some stories behind the scenes that were a lot more interesting than that crappy restaurant.

    • It was the situation and conditions that forced it to happen. Initially, they hoped that in the midst of such conditions their restaurant would be able to survive with the hope of a long period of time but in reality it was difficult to achieve.

  9. I’ve watched the whole episode and I’m amazed that this restaurant can survive 3 years after the video or show made by Gordon Ramsay went well. Sadly, it was their poor management that made this happen. I am quite sad about the closure of this restaurant because I saw on the reviews both on Google maps and on other rating sites that a lot of improvements were made but again because of poor management this all had to happen. I hope the old owner of the restaurant, Dean, can return to the US on good terms considering the political situation there is bad and even if they can maintain their business in Syria I hope it will work out.

  10. loved gordons british humour in the episode. you may have noticed he bought mark womens antiperspirant which mark noticed, but remember at one of the openings, gordon tells the customers that mark will be their ‘hostess’? that isnt a slip of the tongue!


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