Malibu Guido’s Italian Restaurant closing

Guido’s Italian Restaurant, a longtime tenant and popular locals’ hangout at the Malibu Village, is closing its doors, owner Antonio Castanos confirmed.

The exact date of the closure is yet to be determined, but Castanos said that after being on a month-to-month lease for more than two years and not being able to reach a long-term agreement with Malibu Village leaser KRE Capital, he is ready to move on.

“We’ve been trying to get a new lease, something they haven’t given to us. So my decision is to go,” Castanos said. Castanos could not provide a closing date because he said he is still working on logistical aspects of the closure, including selling the restaurant’s liquor license.

The shopping center has housed Guido’s since 1993, under a number of center owners.

It’s not clear why KRE Capital and Castanos have not been able to iron out a long-term deal. Castanos said he has been trying for the last six months to get a longer lease in place.

Matt Khoury, the owner of KRE Capital who purchased a majority share of the Malibu Village in September 2011, said Castanos is leaving on his own terms after terminating the month-to-month understanding.


“We did not kick them out. He came to us and terminated the lease,” Khoury said.

Castanos maintains that KRE essentially ignored his attempts to negotiate a more permanent lease to ensure the future of Guido’s in Malibu.

“No phone calls, emails, answers. We’re being thrown out there like a dog,” Castanos said. “I wish these guys would give us a reason after being in this place for 20 years.”

Khoury declined to comment on whether he was willing to work with Castanos on a long-term plan but continued to stress that it was Castanos who decided to terminate the month-to-month agreement that had been in place. He also denied allegations that he ignored Castanos’ attempts to reach out.

“There was communication with him…I was in communication as recently as [Monday],” Khoury said.

After the last long-term lease for Guido’s ended in 2010, Castanos and two co-owners began paying $25,000 per month to lease the space on a month-to-month basis. One of those co-owners, Vassil Pertchinkov, sold his share of the restaurant to Castanos three months ago and cut ties with the business for good.

According to Khoury, Pertchinkov had been the point person for lease negotiations on the restaurant’s behalf. Once Pertchinkov sold his share a few months ago, though, Khoury said the relationship between the sides grew distant.

“We are just getting to know Antonio now,” Khoury said. “Our point of contact had been Vassil. We were extremely sad to see that Vassil is no longer involved in Guido’s.”

Pertchinkov could not be reached for comment as to why he decided to cut ties with Guido’s.

“The reason he probably left is because he knew there wouldn’t be a new lease,” Castanos said.

For many locals, the imminent closing of Guido’s speaks to a larger problem Malibu residents have with retail shopping center owners.

“What I wish is these landlords would recognize the value of these cherished Malibu institutions and realize that they bring the locals into their centers,” said Jae Flora-Katz, a member of the community group Preserve Malibu.

Many fear shopping center owners will try and attract mainstream chain restaurants and stores that can afford to pay higher rent in a valuable city such as Malibu.

“It’s literally about real estate,” longtime Guido’s customer Joe Divincenzo said. “Leasers want a store that has a big draw.”

Castanos echoed Divincenzo’s sentiments.

“There’s no question about them wanting to rent the place for more money,” Castanos said.

Khoury said he has yet to determine whether a shop or restaurant will replace Guido’s. He did not rule out the possibility of dividing up the space—once it is vacant—into multiple units. He said he plans on including the community when looking for a new tenant or tenants.

“We’ll probably do what we’ve done historically and poll the local community and ask people with the City of Malibu and what they’d like to see,” Khoury said.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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