Santa Monica’s iconic restaurant, Chez Jay, gets ready to officially celebrate its 60th Anniversary this coming fall by kicking off the festivities with the grand opening of The Backyard at Chez Jay, ‘where all good peep meet to eat and drink’ this Thursday, August 15th, 2019.

Chez Jay, located in the heart of Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue, is owned by Michael Anderson and now operated by his son, General Manager, Chris Anderson. Shortly after Chez Jay was named a historical landmark in 2012, MIchael set out to develop The Backyard. 

“Everyone fought me at every turn, but I was not going down,” he says. “I just kept thinking of Robert De Niro’s line as LaMotta in Raging Bull during one of his fights with Robinson when he says, ‘Hey, Ray, I never went down, man! You never got me down, Ray! You hear me, you never got me down’, and he kept going.” 

Michael’s son Chris Anderson joined his father at Chez Jay two years ago as the General Manager where he quickly decided he wanted to help his father finish what he had started. “This was not my first priority when I came on board at Chez Jay, but after seeing how much this meant to my Dad and realizing that getting this done was taking such a toll onl his health, I jumped in and did everything I could to help him finish this project and make his vision a reality,” says Chris.

The Backyard was designed by Chris Anderson and Nataly Lopez with the thoughtful mission to create a comfortable and welcoming gathering space for family, friends and longtime guests of Chez Jay. The space features picnic tables, couches, Adirondack chairs, fire pit, wine barrels, hanging vintage lanterns and string lights, large off-white canopy, and bright blue fence that backs up to Santa Monica’s Tongva Park.

Chef Guillermo De Arcos G, known as “Chef Memo,” is the special secret ingredient at The Backyard at Chez Jay. Having been in the kitchen at Chez Jay for over 27 years, he now has his son Guillermo De Arcos Jr. cooking by his side, making this a true family affair as he introduces the new Good Eats menu at The Backyard at Chez Jay. 

The menu offers signature drinks such as the Hotel California made of Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit, lemon and rosemary.

The Jay Dogprepared with a grilled 10 inch Wagyu hot dog, tomato, pickles, onions, relish, peppers and mustard on split-top brioche, or the appropriately named Mike’s Melt, in honor of Michael Anderson, prepared with a pressed ½ pound Angus beef patty, melted cheddar, and caramelized onions on rye.

The Juan Margarita prepared with Casamigos Tequila, jalapeño, cucumber, cilantro and lime, and the Ketel Spritz made of Ketel One, St Germain, Prosecco, lemon, and thyme.  

The Backyard at Chez Jay is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm; every Friday from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm; every Saturday from 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm, and every Sunday from 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm. For more information, please visit or call Chez Jay directly at 310.395.1741.