It was almost three years ago that I first noticed that a branch of Caffe Primo was intending on moving into the corner space at 7th and Arizona in Downtown Santa Monica, across the street from wildly popular Cassia. But all that appears to have changed. Recently, all the window announcements were pulled down, and a for lease sign has gone up on the vacant space. It looks like the West Hollywood location is gone as well. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ll keep watching to see what develops.
A solid year ago, I told you about a new French pastry shop moving into a corner space on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica that used to house French fragrance folks L’Occitane. I’m not sure what took so long, but Le Macaron is now open and offering sublime creative confections from their charming spot at 1301 Montana Ave. With locations throughout the US, this is the first LA area shop for the Florida based chain. Besides macarons, look for a selection of pastries, breads, chocolates, and coffees.
Bowls, those complicated combinations of über-healthy ingredients commingling in a container, remain hot commodities. The latest to try their hand at attracting the attention of the yoga set in Downtown Santa Monica is Backyard Bowls. With a smattering of locations across Santa Barbara and LA, they look fairly close to opening at 1317A 7th St. Expect a menu of açaí bowls, smoothies, hot porridges, and toasts, that you can read more about here.
I’d thought we’d seen a slow down in the poke phenomena that has descended upon us in recent years, but apparently not. Another contender is vying for our attention in Santa Monica. Signs are up on the space that once was occupied by Rita’s Frozen Custard, at 2307 Main St., announcing that self-described “King of Poke” PoKing will soon be moving in.
Because so many of you are tracking the progress of the developing Westfield Century City Shopping Center, I’m giving you the details as I encounter them. The latest? The food court has expanded its floor space by a great deal. I know it’s hard to tell from these photos, but a new glass wall has been built creating increased floor space. If you look at the first photo, what you’re looking at is the erstwhile news stand that stood in the outdoor area across from the former Coral Tree Express ( on the far right of the photo). You can see that the area is now enclosed. The second photo is standing where the old doors used to be and looking toward Meizhou Dongpo, that is now just outside the new entrance. What’s going to occupy all this extra space? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
When Govind Armstrong’s southern-inflected hot spot Willie Jane disappeared at 1031 Abbot Kinney in Venice, it caused a great deal of hoopla. Known for its popular biscuits, it closed up shop abruptly back in December. But something new is coming to the space. And according to the recently posted ABC change of ownership application, the new restaurant is named as Willie Jane as well, although this doesn’t necessarily indicate the final name of the new eatery. A name listed on the application is one long associated with Abbot Kinney, Dan Abrams. I don’t have much information on this, but if you’re curious, here’s a place to start looking…
Is competition in the food scene getting too stiff in the El Segundo area? New multi-use complexes are popping up right and left. There’s the developing Elevon project, Apollo Landing, and Manhattan Village is getting a much-needed redo. But there are signs that things are wearing thin. Many empty spaces still sit in the newish The Point. And older shopping centers are beginning to bleed tenants. Plaza El Segundo has had a number of vacant storefronts for a while. Recently, customized burger joint The Counter pulled up stakes there. Courageous expanding Indian restaurant chain Samosa House has settled in and is giving it a go, making this their fifth location. We wish them the best of luck.