In May, Chris Simms, brother Mike and chef Anne Conness opened Simmzy’s in the former downtown Manhattan Beach home of Ebizo’s Skewer. On July 27, the trio debuted Tin Roof Bistro in nearby Manhattan Beach Village and hopes to challenge Paul Martin’s American Bistro for neighborhood supremacy.
The Simms Bros. grew up in the restaurant industry and attended Cornell’s School of Hospitality. Their grandfather founded The Kettle, a 24-hour Manhattan Beach institution. Their father founded the Mimi’s Café chain before selling the brand in 2004. Chris Simms owns three branches of Lazy Dog Café, and there are more locations in the works.
Mike Simms described Executive Chef Anne Conness’ menu as “masterful in its creativity and simplicity with no hint of pretension.” At Friday’s friends-and-family preview, we split a single starter, Carlsbad sunburst clam steamers with bacon, sweet corn, jalapeño butter broth and grilled rustic bread.
The confusingly named “Fish and Chips” ($21) consisted of crisp-crusted crab cakes served with Napa cabbage slaw, chili vinaigrette and shoestring fries.
Tin Roof Bistro’s menu includes the Plain Jane Pizza ($9.75) with tomatoes, mozzarella, chili flakes and basil; and a Pizza Lorraine ($12.50) with bacon, Swiss, caramelized onions, bacon braised greens & béchamel.
If you’re looking for smaller portions, Tin Roof Bistro sells “Small Plates from the Butcher’s Block” like the Grilled Skirt Steak Lollipop ($4), marinated in sweet sauce sauce and served with peanut sauce; and Goat & Honey ($6.75) – Laura Chenel goat cheese with honey, pine nuts and French bread.
Simmzy’s is beer-focused, but Tin Roof Bistro hosts only two taps. Instead, Mike Simms said they decided to focus on wine, and even have decorative grape vines in front of the restaurant. Mike Simms described their concept as “wine bistro” and sells 22 wines by the glass, all available in 3-ounce pours.
The interior was inspired by the Simms’ visits to revered wine regions. Hatch Design incorporated 175 seats, a staggered tin-paneled ceiling, a 20-foot mahogany bar and an exhibition kitchen. The tin ceiling looked good, but also increased the noise level. In warm weather, it might be better to sit on the courtyard patio.