When Steve Rodriguez, left, opened the 1321 Taproom Bistro in Old Torrance in spring 2011, locals hoped it signaled not only a milestone in the redevelopment of the business district, but a sign the craft beer movement in the South Bay now had culinary pretensions to match the aspirations of its brewers.
Sadly, it proved a false dawn.
The new chef quickly departed and the restaurant became notorious for its relatively high prices, hit and miss cuisine and strange layout and decor.
This writer personally had the worst BLT and then Caesar salad in my entire life (fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice … you get the idea).
Also, guests had to walk through the entire (vast) dining room to reach the bar where you were greeted by uncomfortable stools designed that way to ensure bar flies didn’t linger (they needn’t have worried with that food).
The restaurant staggered on until recently when even the lure of $3 locally brewed craft brews on a Monday night couldn’t draw in the wary. Now that’s a sure sign of its impending demise.
On the plus side 1321 had a welcoming woody decor and a cool massive mural celebrating the history of Torrance in the bar.
But it couldn’t survive.
And now, in an apparent effort to recoup the hundreds of thousands of dollars the owners surely plowed into the huge, old building, it’s up for sale at an asking price of $3.5 million.
Good luck with that.
There’s a market for craft beer in Old Torrance.
Tortilla Cantina just down the street serves around 40 draft brews, for instance.
The difference between that restaurant and 1321? Decent, moderately-priced food.