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We would like to thank everyone who kindly contacted Lani and me about OP Cafe and what it meant to you, as well as the Santa Monica Daily Press and reporter Clara Harter for their thoughtful piece on the OP closure along with better news on Margo's new plant based food & drink service.

We are excited by the response to Margo’s vegan offerings and happy to let you know effective October 4 we are now open all day every day from lunch to late night, 11a-10p Monday to Friday and 11a-10p Saturday and Sunday.

We appreciate your continue support and look forward to serving you soon.  All our best.  


Mark Verge
October 2021

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Meet Our Chef -

Devine "Dino" Johnson

The story of Executive Chef at Margo’s on Montana in Brentwood, California, is only the beginning.

It’s a story of a man raised in challenged neighborhoods of Los Angeles who became one of the most important voices of the culinary world in Los Angeles and beyond.

Devine’s philosophy of cooking is accredited to his Grandmother.

“As a young man, my father taught me how to work with my hands in the backyard.  I kept sneaking in the kitchen to study the world of my Grandma. She cooked without recipes – her measuring cups were taste and flavor,” Devine said. “As a chef, now I use the instincts of my palate as the paintbrush for my recipes.” 

He’s worked his way up from working in restaurant kitchens to be an Executive Chef by mentoring under exceptional talent. “I made a choice early on not to look for a job, but to look for the optimum path for my career and my happiness." 

He’s been mentored at many of Los Angeles’ renowned restaurants; including by Joe Miller (Joe’s on Abbot Kinney), Brennan Collins (Waterloo & City), Sebastian Archibald (Riot House), and Michael Garcia (Jaffa). 

“Mentors have been such a treasure in my life. I’ve been so fortunate to work under mentors along my journey that taught me so much about the art of being a chef and the art of life. Sebastian Archibald taught me the value of work ethics, and impressed on me the idea to be a chef even when no one is watching,” said Devine.

Under the mentorship of Michael Garcia at Jaffa, Devine said Michael gave him the gift of confidence.  “Michael believed in me and saw my promise.  It’s the gift of a lifetime.” 

“He taught me the difference between a cook and a chef.  Big difference,” said Devine.

When Michael Garcia became the Executive Chef at Margo’s, he brought his protégé Devine – promoting him as his Sous Chef. When Michael recently transitioned to Director of Restaurants for the Verge Company, Michael once again promoted his protégé.  

“If you want to be successful in the world, you need to genuinely love people.  That’s my super-power.  I changed the way I looked at the world, and it changed the way the world looked at me.” 

Devine spoke to how Mark Verge’s mission statement is to make his restaurants a second family; and for Margo’s to be a second home to the community of Montana.

“I want to draw our community to Margo where they find ‘happy’ here.  Happy in the food.  Happy in the service.  Happy in their Chef.  Happy in their neighbors in the room.”

Devine believes food should be fun and vibrant.   

“I love colors and tricking in the mind.  I believe food starts with the eyes, then the nose, then the mouth."  

“I think of the rainbow.  Have you ever looked at a rainbow and not smiled?  It’s flavors for the eyes.  If you see my dishes, they’re a bouquet of colors.  Before you eat your meal, it already brings you joy. I’m going to evolve our menu to be specific to our family of guests. I’m driven right now to talk to more guests.  Getting people to your restaurant isn’t just about making a dish, it’s making a dish that brings them real joy.”  

Devine embraces that his role as Executive Chef is so much more than creating food.   

“I respect the business of my role.  I’m running operations, schedules, and that I’m the leader of five cooks in our kitchen.  I have to make sure their families are taken care of, their hours, their lives are taken care of.”

I want to know everyone that walks down our street.  I want you to know that the food you have was created just for you.”

With the divisiveness in the world, Devine sees the need for individuals that can be a unifying force.

“It’s about creating a sense of place where you feel you belong.  Where you’re comfortable.  Where it brings out the best of you.

“And it all starts with one thing.  Love.  Not food, not recipes, not décor.  Love. Love needs to permeate and drive everything.” said Devine.   

“I can’t wait for you to try my food.  I cooked it from my heart.” 

And that, in a nutshell, is Devine’s secret recipe that he learned from his greatest mentor, his Grandmother. 

Margo’s on Montana. Devine will welcome you to a happy second home.

Experience Devine's Food - Reserve a table