So long and thanks for the memories, laughs and the bagels
By Ben Marcus
Special to The Malibu Times
The quiet coastal community of Malibu was rocked on the morning of Nov. 16, as the harsh Devil Winds swirled with the news that Malibu Kitchen would be closing its doors for good on Dec. 4.
Vicious rumors were confirmed in an official announcement by a teaser on the webpage for Spike Feresten’s Spike’s Car Radio podcast “Spike has an exclusive story sure to send shock-waves through the SoCal car community, The Malibu Kitchen is closing after 22 years. The guys reflect on over two decades of driving and hanging with Bill Miller at the world-famous Malibu eatery.”
Clicking the show to life, Spike’s Car Radio began with a few bars of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon, and then Feresten and his co-hosts went into detail on the Who, What, Where, When, and Why: “What’s better than Frank Sinatra?” Feresten began with a heavy sigh, “And we’re playing him because we have news… breaking news on the show…. This is music our good friend Bill at Malibu Kitchen played. Zuckerman, you might not know about this, but Jerry and I were out there having breakfast just a few days ago, and Bill told us… he’s done. He’s throwing in the towel. He’s leaving Malibu Country Mart 22 years to the day of his opening. This is his goodbye. We’re very upset. You know we can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Bill… even before the pandemic Bill was like… you know he said to us, ‘I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be doing this.’ You know, and a year ago, maybe nine months ago, before we started the movie, he said, ‘You know I’d probably be ending this thing now if you guys weren’t making that movie. I want to be around.. I know Jerry’s going to be out here and you guys are going to come to dinner a lot. So… I’m really staying open until you guys finish.’ We thought he was just kidding. Apparently not. This thing is over. It’s done. I think Dec. 4 is the day. Bill clarified that is when the doors close on Christmas Eve, but the shop is going to close on the 4th.”
In 2000 Bill Miller brought the east coast, New York charm to the west coast in the form of H and H bagels, breakfast pastries, delicious sandwiches, and service that some compared to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi or Dick’s Last Resort.
But that was part of the charm of Malibu Kitchen, along with all those blue skies, the view of the empty mountains, and the endless parade of exquisite, expensive cars that were attracted to Malibu Kitchen by the presence of Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Jay Leno and other renowned gearheads from near and far.
Malibu Kitchen became a mecca for gearheads, and during the summer of 2022, the Sunday parking lot was loaded with fine cars, old and new, from 1950s MGAs to Bugatti Chirons and everything in between. The sound and fury and smoke of these car shows inspired some Malibu residents to dub it “Valibu.” By the end of summer, it was all shut down.
And now Malibu Kitchen is shutting down.
Some of the regulars arriving at Malibu Kitchen for the Tuesday coffee klatch were shaken by the news, “This is a very sad day. Malibu Kitchen is the last bastion of authentic Malibu “charm” and lore,” said Gary Bushnell. “Malibu Cinemas, old Nobu, La Scala, Alice’s, Dume Room, How’s Market, PC Greens to name just a few..now replaced with mega-dollar, corporate sxxx-shows offering all the comfort and homeyness of the Las Vegas strip. Would have been nice if Jerry S could have peeled a few bills off his stack (ala Irving Azoff) in the name of preservation.”
Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner remembered Malibu Kitchen going back to the time it was Mary’s Kitchen, “I enjoyed the scrambled egg with salmon pieces and tomato for years. The cookies were as huge as my smile! Recently it got a little pricey for lowball surfers, also known as me, but the quality is always splendid!”
Responding from Beverly Hills, where she is now gainfully employed as an attorney and counselor, Alexandra Sagona Esq. was one of many Pepperdine coeds who worked at Malibu Kitchen to help pay some of the expenses of making it through the college on a hill. Sagona worked at Malibu Kitchen while she toiled through law school but she made it, “Working at Malibu Kitchen was being a part of an amazing, crazy family,” Sagona said. “Bill and Judith are some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. MK will be forever missed.”
Along with A&B Hardware, another Malibu institution is closing its doors, and that saddens people who knew and loved Malibu Kitchen.
Stay tuned to next week’s edition of The Malibu Times for the whole story.