Courtyard Long Beach Downtown Begins Construction of New Restaurant

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Famed Chef Dean James Max will develop and operate new modern American eatery.

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James Republic at Courtyard Long Beach Downtown

“I know that the farm-to-table verbiage has been beaten to death, but it is the most important part of what we do. The style of the food will be modern American, which really states that anything goes, culturally speaking."

The Courtyard Long Beach Downtown has partnered with a renowned chef and locally based design firm to bring high-quality, reasonably priced food to one of the city’s hippest corners.

James Republic, the Long Beach, CA, hotel’s latest restaurant venture, promises to bring seasonal, locally sourced ingredients straight to the plates of diners on East First Street and Linden Avenue. Construction on the modern American eatery that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner commenced in January in the East Village. The area, located in the middle of the arts district, is known for its eclectic mix of locally owned cafés, retail shops and restaurants.

Expected to open in mid-April in the downtown Long Beach hotel’s former Courtyard Café, James Republic will boast a shipyard-like theme that weaves in nautical influences to make diners “feel like they are on the water and enjoying life,” said Christine van Rooy of Vanrooy Design, the 4-year-old Long Beach-based firm that has been contracted to design the intimate eatery.

The restaurant will feature a street entrance for locals and visitors to walk in and enjoy the space but also will be connected to the downtown Long Beach hotel via a hallway so guests can grab a meal as well, said Chef Dean James Max, who will serve as chef and whose company will manage the property. The “James” portion of the restaurant’s name has a colonial bond reminiscent of the era of naval exploration – important in Long Beach history – as well as being part of Max’s moniker.

James Republic will seat 90 to 100 patrons in separate lounge, bar and dining areas done in white oak and raw steel. A study area is expected to include board games for locals to come and hang out while sipping on a custom cocktail. The expansive bar will feature high-top tables and comfortable seating, while a large 20-foot communal table will serve as a centerpiece of the interior.

Van Rooy said a few walls in the space will be “blown out” to the outdoor patio to bring light into the space and allow guests to take in the sunny Southern California weather and Pacific breeze. Wood shutters and window frames will add sophistication for guests dining al fresco.

Max will showcase his culinary skills embracing a farm-to-table dining experience with a daily changing menu that hasn’t been decided yet. But, the chef says he plans to do cool simple things thinking outside the box” possibly with house-made yogurts, fresh heirloom vegetable scrambles for a simple neighborhood breakfast featuring locally roasted coffee and hand-squeezed juices. Simple but creative lunches and dinners also will be showcased at reasonable prices.

“I know that the farm-to-table verbiage has been beaten to death, but it is the most important part of what we do,” Max said. “The style of the food will be modern American, which really states that anything goes, culturally speaking. That doesn't mean we will infuse different cultural foods together. Instead, there will be Italian dishes like our breakfast eggs baked in extra virgin olive oil with savoy spinach, Parmesan and prosciutto. There also will be dishes that are French, Spanish, Latin, Japanese, but all of them will be true to their origin. They will mostly be items that are found locally within California and change as frequent as the season requires.”

Max is president of DJM Restaurants, a company that specializes in restaurant concept and ongoing management. The company has extensive experience with creating street style restaurants within hotel environments. The portfolio of his organization includes the flagship 3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Brasserie in the Cayman Islands, Amp 150 in Cleveland and Latitude 41 in Columbus, Ohio; Asador in Dallas; and Parallel Post in Trumbull, Ct.

A Stuart, Florida., native, Max holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Florida State University with a minor in hotel and restaurant management. He attended the Florence Study Center in Florence, Italy, from where he claims his love of food comes.

Max is no stranger to California, having previously worked at the highly acclaimed Woodside in Brentwood as well as the Brasserie Savoy in San Francisco. He’s also put his mark on Mumbo Jumbo Restaurant in Atlanta, Ga.; Gerard’s Place in Washington, D.C.; and dining rooms at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, Va., and Atlanta.

Gourmet Magazine has called Max’s modern American cuisine “stylish” and “tongue-tingling,” and the James Beard Foundation has recognized him as a “Great Regional Chef of America.”

James Republic will mimic Max’s other restaurants in terms of fresh foods while at the same time embracing the green aspect of the Long Beach community.

“Our clean space will have a little grit, a little edge, but will be the kind of place Mom and Dad will feel comfy in as well as their college-aged kid,” van Rooy said.

Expect James Republic to open sometime in the last few weeks of April.

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