Fearing they might lose one of the "oldest great restaurants" in Santa Monica, community members are signing onto a petition to urge city commissioners to protect Chez Jay with a landmark designation.
The online petition launched by Santa Monica resident Christina Cox has garnered 118 signatures in the past 11 days. Signers have taken to change.org to vent ire about possible changes to the watering hole and about what they say is over-development in Santa Monica.
"People from around the world have told me they know of and it is on their list of places to visit while here," wrote one petitioner. "To change it would be like putting a digital clock face on Big Ben."
A landmark designation could slow or prevent forced-renovations or demolition to the treasured hole in the wall. The city’s 2005 Civic Center Specific Plan calls for it to be transformed into an airy, outdoor dining space compatible with the future .
The petition reads:
To preserve an important historic site in Santa Monica. Now open for over 52 years, Chez Jay has seated famous politicians & celebrities like Henry Kissinger and Marlon Brando while also welcoming the locals (like me). There are rumors that The Pentagon Papers were leaked to a reporter here, One of the bar peanuts even made a trip to the moon! Without your support, the developers will pressure the City to water it down & make it a generic tourist spot.
Santa Monica's Landmarks Commission is expected to vote on the matter Sept. 10.
Here's what other petition signers wrote about Chez Jay:
Becuase Chez Jay's is one of the oldest great restaurants in Santa Monica & should not be re-modeled either. Don't know what's becoming of Santa Monica...I am a native & am disgusted with all the development & call it Soviet Santa Monica now!!
Love this place. It is one [o]f the few places that represent old Santa Monica. I was born here 57 years ago, and my city is disappearing.
Chez Jay is but few of the remaining landmark businesses existing in Santa Monica along with others such as The Galley. Chez Jay is an example of the overall community struggling to remain in an increasingly hostile developer controlled Santa Monica.