Our culinary New Year in Laguna Beach got off to a lovely start this year with the salvation of one our our favorite SoLag restaurants.

In the last week of December, the City of Laguna Beach worked with AhbA Restaurateur Nick Bennett to stave off its closure. The popular SoLag eatery’s speakeasy in question – Helen’s – on the back patio, was the source of the issue. Complaints had been filed that alcohol was being served without proper permitting.

Just days before Christmas, a petition signed by more than 1,700 AhbA fans hit Director of Community Development Mark Wiener’s desk. “The petition was the first I’d heard there was an escalated problem,” he told me.

Bennett and Wiener met in person the next day to work through the kinks, and on Dec. 23rd, a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) was granted for the extended outdoor patio.

Case closed, and thank goodness, because no one makes that kind of burger anywhere in the state of California.

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