It appears that casual outdoor burger spot Cowabunga Republic has closed up shop at 2912 Main St. in Santa Monica. The giant for lease sign on the front confirms the sad news. Cowabunga Republic burst on the scene earlier this year with a lot of initial attention from locals. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ll keep watching the unusual space to see what new venture may take a chance.
You know I’ve been tracking the massive expansion of the Israeli chain obsessed with lilliputian burgers, Burgerim. But could there be a bump in the road to SoCal domination? As a reader pointed out (Thanks Tony!) the new-ish Burgerim at 250 S Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills has already called it quits after about a year. Not sure what happened, but the reader suspects competition from Burger Lounge, which is directly across the street, could have had something to do with it.
Sometimes, for reasons I don’t immediately understand, the amount of interest in a story of mine catches me by surprise. This is exactly the case here. Ever since I told you about the impending arrival of the iconic sign that inspired Ed Ruscha to the corner of Imperial and Crenshaw, a great many of you have been asking for updates. Well, today is the day you’ve been waiting for: Popular SoCal diner Norms opened today (November 21) in Crenshaw Imperial Plaza to long lines of excited fans. You’re welcome.
And while we’re on the subject of Century City… It was back in early September when I told you about the arrival of Palm Springs’ Brandini Toffee to the space vacated by Yagourt & Bougatsa on the second floor of the Westfield Century City Shopping Center. For those of you who have been waiting to try to celebrated sweet treats comes this happy news: Brandini Toffee officially threw open their doors on Tuesday, November 19th.
When hometown low-calorie ice cream expert Halo Top laid down brick-and-mortar locations, people went crazy. Recently however, I’ve been hearing from readers that the locations have abruptly closed. So, I went by the Westfield Century City Shopping Center to check things out. Sure enough, a notice on the front proclaims the sad news that all Halo Top Scoop Shops are now finished. Could it have something to do with the recent acquisition of Halo Top by Wells Enterprises, the people behind Blue Bunny? But all is not lost: You can still find Halo Top in local grocery stores.
What must be the Westside’s worst-kept secret, Trader Joe’s arrival to the heart of Santa Monica has long been established. Ever since I first confirmed it to you earlier this year, I’ve been deluged with questions about an opening date from adoring fans who were geographically challenged by not having one in their backyard. So here ya go: Trader Joe’s Wilshire officially opens tomorrow, November 16th at 2300 Wilshire Blvd. You’re welcome.
A great many of you were shocked to learn that the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf had closed its doors back in August at its iconic stand-alone location at 1500 Westwood Blvd. Die hard CBTL fans have been mourning the loss, but there is more coffee on the way… A banner recently went up announcing Starbucks as the replacement.
Every once in a while, I get out of the Westside and check out the food scene farther afield. I recently noticed that Hollywood’s Nashville hot poultry purveyor Angry Chickz is opening a location in Encino. A banner is up on the space once held by Tasty Chicken at 16101 Ventura Blvd. announcing the news. It appears the Nashville hot craze charges on unabated…
Signs of life in Westwood Village… After an alarming number of eateries closed recently, it’s good to see some plucky contenders attempting the risky area. It was originally reported earlier this year that Taiwanese boba brand Sharetea was going into the space previously occupied by The Poke at 935 Broxton. But that didn’t happen for some reason. Now window paper covering the front of the old Nushii location at 1055 Broxton is announcing Sharetea’s intent to move in. And I also previously reported House of Meatball’s closure back in September in order to “freshen up”. Readers have been quick to point out that, despite other Westwood restaurants that have closed for remodeling only to eventually permanently close soon after, House of Meatballs has happily reopened at 1076 Gayley.
Well THAT didn’t take long… It was only back in May when I told you that Culver City’s Meet In Paris was expanding into the old La Scala space at 11740 San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood. (At the time, I was told the name was going to be Café Parisien) I’m not sure what happened, but readers have been letting me know that after only a few months, Meet In Paris has closed down. I’ll keep watching the space to see what develops.
Inhabiting a space on the second floor of the strip mall at 11701 Wilshire, old school red sauce joint Enzo & Angela has stood like a sentinel over the corner of Wilshire and Barrington in Brentwood for a really long time. A little over a month ago, a handwritten note appeared on the front door saying that they would be closed for a short period after which they promised to reopen. Sadly, it looks like that didn’t work out so well. They have vacated the space and it is currently being gutted. But it looks like a new restaurant is lined up to move in. An ABC application on the front lists the new venture as Mio Babbo. The name on the application is Umberto Ferri. While I don’t have any confirmation, I’m assuming this is the same truffle hunting restaurateur that is behind Casa Modena in Culver City.
If you follow this blog, then you know I’ve been carefully following the volatility of the Westwood Village food scene. You may remember that, with great sadness, I reported back in September about the disappearance of Westwood’s beloved institution Falafel King from its 1010 Broxton Ave. location. Wasting no time, a plucky new contender appears to be giving the space a go. Signs are up announcing that Mr. Rice is settling in. An employee at Mr. Rice in Rowland Heights told me that this is “same company”, but I can’t absolutely confirm it.