It’s been two years since the unexpected announcement that Twohey’s would close its 75-year old location in Alhambra and reopen in South Pasadena at the old Carmine’s in the Ace Hardware shopping center. The original target for reopening was Spring 2018 but that was followed by months of delays and extensions. Rumors have spread and even some who work at the shopping center itself believe the reopening is dead.
They are wrong.
Behind the opaque facades now surrounding the 30-year-old building, work is apace, and progress is being made. The floors are in. The kitchen is done. Contractors will be bringing equipment in over the next week or so. Twohey’s owners, rendered gun-shy by experience from setting a firm date, say the new Twohey’s opening is imminent and very much on track, complete with Stinko burgers, sundaes, and a redesigned label and logo.
“It will be fresh and new,” Twohey’s co-owner Tanya Christos told the South Pasadenan News this week. “We’re excited about the design.” While the new restaurant will have about the same customer capacity as the old, it won’t look the same. It will sport a fresher, softer look while preserving “the integrity of the original Twohey’s.”
“The new soda fountain has been pulled out of the kitchen, as in the Alhambra location, and will instead be on display allowing folks to see things as they are made. There will be a full bar, Wi-Fi, two outside patios and a private dining space that will allow for overflow and rentals for groups and meetings.”
“We are grateful that our loyal customers and guests have supported us,” Christos says, conceding “we didn’t think it would take this long. But as with any construction,” the work can become more involved than anticipated “We had to correct a lot of things” in the old building “that were not the way we wanted,” but they’re committed to renovate the leased structure “as though it was our own. We are focused on Twoheys being here for the long haul (and) keeping the integrity of what Twohey’s is about.” But doing it right has “taken longer than we wanted.”
Asked about the obstacles, Christos declined to go into detail but said “it was the building. The extent of construction. We knew it was old but didn’t realize how bad a shape it was in.”
Christos also refrained from putting blame on municipal bureaucracy. According to public records, between May of 2018 and October of 2019, Twohey’s pulled two building permits and one each for mechanical, electrical and plumbing, and had been subject to no fewer than ten inspections. The city’s rejection of the original plan for a neon sign atop a pole like the one in Alhambra has been superseded by a LED version, but the new signage will also add “a little surprise,” she said.
“Mostly we are just looking forward to getting it open and seeing all our excited patrons come through the doors to enjoy the design, food and service and a lot of the little things to add value to the Twoheys name and legacy.”