SANTA MONICA, CA — Is it the friendly staff, the quality food, or the top-notch customer service that makes you love a business? During the coronavirus pandemic, shopping small has become of utmost importance as businesses, restaurants and local stylists struggle to make ends meet.
Here are the Santa Monica businesses that rose to the top, according to Patch readers:
AVO Café, 306 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “All Vegan Cafe has amazing food! It is very healthy and it is delicious!! It is owned by Mark and Sher Kopman. They have an outdoor patio which is beautiful!! They also have a ping pong table which is fun!!”
“Family owned & run, bringing all vegan, organic, healthy food to the community! We’re more passionate than ever about bolstering people’s immune systems through this pandemic! It has been tough on our business, but we’re fighting to stay open & come out stronger in the end!”
“I cannot say enough amazing things about AVO Cafe. It’s family-run and the owners are so incredibly kind and helpful. The food is amazing and being vegan, that’s a huge compliment. All of their food is organic and you can taste the difference and I feel like I’m home when I eat there. Fantastic outdoor patio in the back with a water fountain and ping pong table…Hello!”
“AVO Cafe’s food is not just healthy – it’s delicious and made of the highest quality ingredients. Most importantly, it’s made with love and that comes through in the taste and presentation. The owners care about the health of their customers and they strive to provide food that their customers will enjoy.”
Back On The Beach Cafe, 445 CA-1, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “This restaurant has good food, caring staff. And always friendly.”
Bike Attack Electric, 2904 Main St., Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “During the pandemic, they were always open and helped people to get on their bikes when they needed it most.”
Chandni Indian Restaurant, 1909 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “Friendly owner and staff. Great food. Kumar is a lovely man. He holds several free meal events a year and donates all the tips and money from drinks from these events to charity. He also donates food to several charities.”
Drive Cardio, 135 Entrada Dr, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “Drive Cardio is a small mom and pop gym in Santa Monica Canyon that has provided locals some of the best fitness classes to be found anywhere in the city, and an upbeat neighborhood gathering place in healthier times. Pandemic closures have hit them hard, but they have pivoted to Zoom classes and private training to stay afloat as a business, and to meet the needs of their clients. Thierno and Tina deserve our support and recognition for hanging in there despite all odds.”
Hillstone’s Restaurant, 202 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “Excellent food, service and a fun atmosphere. Owners are on top of the management of their business.”
LaVecchia, 2654 Main St., Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “Exquisite food, wonderful service and staff! Feels like home. Owners and staff are very welcoming and helpful, always there to answer any questions you have.”
Lily’s Nails, 727 Broadway, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “After having their small business completely destroyed by rioters, and closed for months by covid-19, the owner came back, with no help from the government, and reopened with hard work and elbow grease.
O’Brien’s Irish Pub, 2226 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “The owner, Willie O’Sullivan is a great businessman and host of the Southern California New York Giants watch parties. When the pandemic hit, he was one of the first businesses to make it ‘covid safe.’ He put up plexiglass with 6 feet intervals so his patrons could socially distance. When they closed indoor dining, he went into a very fast-paced mode to use the parking lot to create a safe and socially distanced place for his customers to enjoy the food, beverages, televisions and friendships created at the Pub. It was mandatory to wear masks when not eating. When he realized the patio was getting busy, he added a garden patio behind the patio to accommodate all of the guests. He went over and beyond to stay afloat, with take out and delivery still available, as well as make the patios homey and keep everyone safe.
Tartine Santa Monica, 1925 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “I love their baked goods and they have the best outdoor seating of anywhere. The manager, Nadia, is lovely. Her energy makes Tartine shine.”
TriFit gym, 2425 Colorado Ave. Ste 120, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “Great staff and owners and facilities including pool.”
“Creating sanity for many of us who need community and exercise and to get out of the house – owners are super friendly and kind and knowledgeable and safe.”
SHARE! High School Exchange Program, 2601 Ocean Park Blvd. #322, Santa Monica
What our readers are saying: “ERDT provides loving host families and outstanding schools throughout the U.S. to international students, an enriching, fun-filled cultural experience they will always remember. From the local Exchange Program Coordinator and all the way up to the National Director, you can’t find more upstanding people.”
Which other Santa Monica area businesses do you love? Tell us in the comments!
This article originally appeared on the Santa Monica Patch