The new owner of Amy’s Patio Café has a feeling that buying the Altadena business was just meant to be. It’s not just that as a trained chef, she had been looking for a business to buy for the past 15 years when the restaurant became available. It has to do with something more coincidental: Amie Moore was born an Amy, and her mother’s maiden name is Clark, the same last name as previous owner Lauren Clark.
Since taking over on Oct. 8, Moore has kept the menu pretty much the same because “the regulars like it,” but has added dinner hours and lengthened the breakfast and lunch hours to accommodate early commuters and late lunchers. The café is also open on Mondays now.
“One of things told to me by the old owner and customers was that there is a real need for another dinner place,” she says. In December, she started serving dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. “It’s pretty slow right now, I think people are just discovering it.”
Moore also bakes up made-from-scratch desserts, including tempting sweets such as apple crisp, Grand Marnier cake, blueberry chiffon cake, mud pie and mocha Kahlua layer cake. “I do whatever comes to mind when I feel like it,” she says.
There’s also a new soup special, and as a former sous chef with a certificate in Advanced Food Management from the Pacific School of Restaurant Management, Moore makes everything from scratch. Cappuccino and lattes are now served and the café is wired for Wi-Fi.
Asked about prices, Moore said, “I think it’s a pretty mixed clientele, mixed economic backgrounds…. One thing we do have, our dishes are really quite large. I encourage anybody to split a dish. There is flexibility in the menu that can appeal to people from a bunch of different backgrounds.”
Born in Miami, Moore grew up in Canada and met her husband, actor Trevor Young, there. Amie (pronounced ah-MEE) was a nickname from that childhood that stuck. Moore and Young moved to Los Angeles about 17 years ago so he could advance his career, and for 15 years, Moore served as Members’ Services administrator of the Musicians Union Local 47 facility in Hollywood. She kept the entire facility going, including the job office, auditorium, and rehearsal rooms. After she was laid off about a year ago, she started looking for a restaurant to buy.
“I thought if I bought a restaurant, it would be different from working for someone else,” she says. “It took me about a year to find the right place. I have a 4-year-old son, so I just wanted to do a breakfast and lunch place so I could spend some time with him. I really lucked out with this place.”
Young was also in the food business as a fine dining waiter working in 5-star hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. He has own handyman business, and lent his expertise to renovating Amy’s Patio Café and making it more convenient for staff.
“It has a fresh, happy new look,” Moore says. Adding to the new look is a rotating display of artwork from an artists’ coop. “Another thing I hope someday to use is my experience in music,” she adds. “I hope to bring live music into the place.” She sings and plays guitar and piano herself, as well as composing music in the acoustic pop style. Moore also wants to continue selling Amy’s Patio Café dinners for the Altadena Summer Concert series at Farnsworth Park.
In addition to serving freshly made food and extending the hours, Moore plans to build her business by being active in Altadena.
“I joined the Altadena Chamber of Commerce. I want to get involved in the community as much as possible, participating in events, that kind of thing, so people know we’re still here. They need to know it’s got a new owner and that I have the time to put an effort into creating a whole new environment here.”
Amy’s Patio Café is located at 900 E. Altadena Dr. (northeast corner of Lake and Altadena) and has parking in front, back, and on the street. The phone number is (626) 798-4737. Hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.