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Mermaid's Thelen Era Over

The Hermosa Beach fixture that speaks to days gone by will have new owners soon. So, what is its fate?

The Thelen era of operation of the Mermaid restaurant and cocktail bar ended Monday morning at 2, Diana Albergate, current Mermaid owner and operator told Patch Monday afternoon.

The legendary local hangout's fate became quite the conversation piece late last week after the pubic learned the restaurant and the entire L-shaped property it is part of soon would close escrow. 

Albergate expects escrow to close this week and won't be opening the Mermaid's doors to the public in the meantime, she told Patch.

Last week as rumors of the restaurant's fate and imminent closure swirled, she told the Easy Reader that the prospective owners plan to keep the Mermaid “as is” but that “once it’s purchased they can do whatever they want.”

Situated with an envious ocean view at 11 Pier Avenue next to The Strand boardwalk where everything hip happens, the iconic establishment was owned for its first 57 years by Quentin “Boots” Thelen, who died in 2007, leaving the Mermaid and surrounding property to Albergate [his stepdaughter] and other family members. They then listed the entire L-shaped property for sale to pay estate taxes, according to a Beach Reporter article, which says the property has been for sale since 2007. 

Albergate thinks the Mermaid will open its doors again as the Mermaid after the new owners make some minor upgrades. She said the restaurant will have "new operators," reportedly from the in Marina del Rey. The same report says that the new property owners plan to turn one of the existing businesses on the property into a Killer Shrimp by November. 

The L-shaped property includes  bar and , which face The Strand, and the restaurant,  shop and Tiki Mon Creamery & Café around the corner on Pier Avenue plaza.

Talk is that the new property owners ultimately want to build a hotel on the site, a process that could take some three years to secure all of the necessary approvals and permits.

Good Stuff Owner Cris Bennett told Patch he hopes to get another three years in his existing prime HB location on The Strand and that he'd like for Good Stuff to be incorporated into the hotel. 

"I would love to stay in Hermosa Beach and land in one of those [buildings when the hotel opens]," he said. "I would love to have the opportunity to do that.

"We'd be a good fit; we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. And we're a pretty good tenant," he said. Good Stuff has been in Hermosa for 32 years and has restaurants in Redondo Beach and El Segundo. It once was also in downtown Manhattan Beach.

Bennett said that he has yet to communicate directly with the new property owners, who are reported to be One Pier Avenue, LLC. He believes the new owners will move forward strategically in their bid to develop the reported L-shaped hotel. 

"The last thing the city would want is to board up buildings and put a fence around prime beach front property [beyond the time necessary to construct the new hotel]," he said. 

Correction: An earlier vesion of this article incorrectly used the word "Phelen" instead of "Thelen," as in Quentin "Boots" Thelen. We apologize for this error.

Joe Cloud July 31, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Longing to come ' home' to what Hermosa Beach was when I was growing up ( 1960's through the 1980's , ok so growing up took me a little longer).None the less it's obvious that Hermosa is just NOT Hermosa Beach any longer. I sit here in Oklahoma wondering what the hell am I doing here and not a the playful and peaceful beach I grew up in! Guess I'd now be complaining, what the hell am I doing at this tourist trap with all these party animals!! Sad day! I blame NOT the Thelen family as I believe it's very hard on them. They have to do what's financially sound for them ( with insane taxes these days). City of Hermosa Beach City Council, PLEASE think HARD and LONG on this one .. From a former Mermaid employee and resident of a 'once then' little city. Sad, sad times!
rosie August 01, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Oh. awesome. You guys should name your cool new hotel "Lick My Nuts!"
Mary Friese August 01, 2012 at 01:53 AM
I feel for you, Joe. I grew up in Manhattan Before it became the tourist draw that it now is. I've lived in Hermosa also. I moved away for work and a different life for a while...but was never happy being away from my precious beach. I'd suggest coming back...Manhattan and Hermosa are super expensive and crazy packed...so I moved to Redondo. I'm by the beach again and love it. Come on back...your soul is here.
Dale Turkle August 05, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Joe, as another former Mermaid employee (lot attendant 1979-1982) I'll miss it too. The last piece of not only Hermosa but the entire old beach community.
Steve Lister August 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Let's just pave the whole damn city with concrete, hotels and corporate establishments! It seems that all of our small cities as well as the rest of Southern California has turned into an overcrowded quagmire of cars, buildings and people. Gone are the days of the laid back times of the 60s and 70s! God help this state, the good old days are gone forever!

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