The Backyard at Santa Monica’s Historic Chez Jay is Open Now!

The Backyard at Chez Jay! ©Billy Bennight

Recently, myself and a host of other food journalist and influencers were treated to a special preview of Chez Jay’s new “The Backyard” in Santa Monica. This designated historical site now has a handsome new addition to its historic location on Ocean Blvd. creating a friendly open space where people can dine, drink and mix. The new deck is a large partially-covered area filled with benches, tables, chairs with a conveniently located bar near the back corner of Chez Jay original structure. The area is rustic, friendly and eay to access. There’s a lounge area has a focal point in the center of comfortable sofas and a Persian rug covered with a whimsically positioned canopy of slotted sailcloth floating above. There’s a strategically located booth in the opposite corner or diagonally positioned from the bar in The Backyard. It’s situated in a way where you can nest with your friends and be chillin like a villain on the DL in anonymous comfort. The Backyard is an expansive and comfortable space with people in mind.

Most everyone arrived by dusk. By that time the bites and cocktails were already flowing as trays of goodies passed our way.  I started off with a delightful Never Old Fashion. The servers starting dropping by with tasty bites like the marvelous Peppercorn Maple Bacon (thick, chewy and mapley divine). It was followed by Grilled Shrimp Ceviche Bites (fresh and light), Kimchi Guacamole, Street Corn (Chaz Jays take on elote). The Jay Dog (a grilled 10 inch Wagyu hot dog accompanied with tomato, pickles, onions, relish, peppers and mustard on brioche bun is Chez Jay’s homage to the Chicago-style hot dog) and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich (the chicken was juicy, the pairing of sliced apple and arugula was brilliant – the combination really elevated it from your more common take on the chicken sandwich). Our dessert was Chef Memo’s Fried Oreos. They were an amazing triumph of desserts by combining the dense chocolate of the Oreo with the effortlessness fluffiness of a Beignet. It was intoxicating!  It was a procession of bites and drinks for nearly 2 ecstatic foodie hours. You could tell every serving was meticulously prepared and beautifully presented. Everyone of Chez Jay selections was a slam dunk of tasty goodness.

After my Never Old Fashion I followed it with a Chevy To The Levy, Then a Dark & Stormy (brooding deliciousness), The Juan Margarita (it was spicy) then took a quick turn at the Belgian-style witbier Allagash White (a great substitution for a sour) and then finishing up my run of cocktails with the Hotel California for the reminiscing and nostalgia of classic California cocktailing. The Hotel California rounded out my beverages for the evening with its mixture of  Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit, lemon and rosemary. It proved to be light and refreshing. Of course, I wasn’t binge drinking because all of these drinks were mingled with the Chez Jays offerings of elegantly served and delightful bites. 

The Backyard offers the Chez Jay patrons, curious locals, and inquiring tourist an easy and comfortable way to get off their feet and still be close to all the Santa Monica Beach activities. It’s not far from Third Street Promenade and it’s an easy walk to step out to the pier. It’s cozy enough to meet up with friends for drinks and bites then linger in the cool ocean air to decompress and share great conversations with friends. It’s all too possible to make new friends in a place with this great of vibe. The Backyard extends Chaz Jay’s historically unique sense of closeness and community it has embodied for the last 60 years in Santa Monica as a dining and drinking establishment of fine reputation. 

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