SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Putting the finishing touches on Socalo’s signature chips may not seem like a two-woman job, but chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are always there for each other to lend a helping hand.
“Good thing we have the both of us. I know this is a very hard job. Very important,” laughed Milliken and Feniger.
That humor and banter is a signature of their 38-year relationship. Milliken and Feniger crossed paths many times in their early careers, but it all culminated in Paris when they decided to officially pair up.
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“We realized we had the same work ethic and the same strong drive for excellence. We were broke and decided to open a restaurant together,” said Milliken.
Feniger added, “and we tried to figure out what city in the United Sates we should come back to and open a restaurant.”
The city they ended up in was Los Angeles where they ran a small cafe together. After working in top fine dining restaurants around the world, they had to go back to square one.
“Mary Sue comes out in this tiny kitchen with a hot plate and two hibachi grills in the parking lot on the ground out back,” said Feniger.
But the duo has come a long way. They built a restaurant empire with their famous Border Grill and now continuing their love for Mexican cuisine with Socalo.
“Being back here in Santa Monica has been so much fun. Every table I talk to has a story about when they ate at Border Grill. So, it’s kind of great to have grown up ourselves having Border Grill for 27 years and now just 16 blocks away having Socalo open,” said Milliken.
Socalo is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week as a place for the community to come together for a great meal.
“It’s kind of a dream for us because we love to take care of people and we love to take care of them in every single way,” said Milliken.
Come and get taken care of by two titans of the culinary industry at Socalo at 1920 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404.