Happy New Year From Toddrickallen!

Whew… What a year 2020 has been.  I know I’m not alone in looking forward to a more hopeful 2021.  It’s not been an easy year to post on restaurant news.  I’m grateful for your readership and support, expecially those who send me leads.  Personally I can’t wait to be able to sit in a restaurant once again.  Until then, know that I am still here for you and  I wish you all a safe, healthy, delicious New Year!

Izzy’s Deli In Santa Monica…

People have been wondering what was going on with beloved institution Izzy’s Deli, at 1433 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.  A while ago, plywood covered the entire front, they appeared to be closed, and there was no explanation.  (At the time, it wasn’t unusual for businesses in the area to be boarded up.)  Some were concerned that the 24-hour eatery was permanently gone.  Well, you can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.  Recently a large banner went up informing us that they are in the midst of a “mandatory earthquake retrofit”.  So, starting in February when they plan on reopening, not only will you be able to get their classic egg salad again, you’ll be safer as well.

Alfred Coffee Coming To Westwood Village

It appears that Westwood Village is about to get a new java joint.  While there is no obvious sign, the windows of 1154 Westwood Boulevard (formerly site of Peet’s Coffee) are blackened with the words “But first, coffee”.  You might recognize this phrase as the tagline for the sleek third-wave purveyor of caffeinated drinks Alfred Coffee.

Prince Of Venice Brings Royal Pizza Al Taglio To Westwood Village

And while we’re on the subject of pizza al taglio (Roman-style pizza baked in large rectangular pans and cut with scissors), a new pizza joint recently opened at 1091 Broxton in Westwood Village, formerly the home of Kopan Ramen which disappeared over the Summer.  Prince of Venice Pasta & Pizza is apparently run by an actual Italian prince, Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, and started life as a food truck, making this location their first brick-and-mortar.  In addition to pizza al taglio, there is a pasta lab where “guests will be able to watch hand-crafted, authentic Italian pasta being made” and sauced with fresh hand-made sauces.  As you can see, the ABC application in the window lets us know that beer and wine are on the way.  We wish them the best of luck.

Allora Pizza Now Open In El Segundo

A new pizza restaurant has moved into the space most recently occupied by Il Romanista.  You may recall that Il Romanista made headlines as LA’s first Roman-style pizza al taglio, or pizza baked in large rectangular pans and cut with scissors.  Don’t know what happened, but the space is now Allora Pizza.  Allora boasts a pizzaiolo with 20 years experience in the “finest restaurants in Italy and the US”.  This is the third pizza restaurant to occupy this location at 829 N. Douglas St.  We wish Allora the best of luck.

Smashburger Heading To Manhattan Village

If you read this blog you know that Manhattan Village, the shopping complex on the corner of Rosecrans and Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach, is undergoing a major redo.  Loads of new retail and restaurant spaces are on the way, with many new eateries already slotted to move in.  Add one more to the list: Signs recently went up on one of the new spaces announcing that a branch of expanding burger chain Smashburger is on the way.  Looks like they’re shooting for a Spring opening.

Changes In Brentwood…

I recently noticed that something new appears to be coming to Brentwood.  An eye-catching new paint job and signage lets us know that the space at 11906 Wilshire that used to be the home of Marsa Mediterranean Cuisine and Layali LA Hookah Cafe is in the process of converting into something called Westside Kitchens and Acqua on Wilshire.  However, I am completely unable to find ANY information on these two businesses.  If you have insider info send it my way and I’ll pass it along…

Bar News…

Of all businesses affected by COVID, bars have been some of the hardest hit.  They were forced to close early in the pandemic, and most have remained dormant since.  One wonders if the industry will survive.  Sadly, it appears one bar didn’t.  I’ve been keeping an eye on the plywood covering Brentwood’s popular pick-up spot Bruhaus, at 11831 Wilshire Blvd., for any signs of life.  Recently a reader (Thanks Tara!) who’d been doing the same let me know that confirmation of Bruhaus‘ fate recently appeared on the front.  A prominent for lease sign lets us know that Bruhaus won’t be reopening.

In other bar news, an ABC application recently appeared on the front of the normally crowded neighborhood dive JP’s Sports Bar & Grill, on the corner of 11th and Wilshire in Santa Monica.  The application is a transfer to a new owner, so it appears JP’s may be returning.  We wish them the best of luck.

Williams-Sonoma Will Be Closing In Beverly Hills

Well this is sad news indeed.  Look at this photo in the window of Beverly Hills’ bright, beautiful Williams-Sonoma.  Yes, it’s true: this location at 339 N Beverly Dr., known for having the best selection in the area, will be permanently closing its doors.  They will remain open through the end of January.  Their locations in Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, and Pasadena will stay open, for now…

Maradentro Will Not Be Returning To Brentwood

It was back in 2015 when I first learned that the commodious corner space at Wilshire and Barrington was going to be Maradentro.  Known for their stiff cocktails and excellent crab dip, Maradentro has largely sat idle since the first round of shutdowns.  I’d been watching the restaurant to see signs of life since I had no confirmation of permanent closure.  Until now…  A reader informed me that there is now a for lease sign out front so I think it’s safe to say they don’t intend on reopening.

Panini Kabob Grill Disappears From Downtown Santa Monica

Another sad restaurant loss…  Like its counterpart in Beverly Hills before it, Panini Kabob Grill appears to have permanently pulled the plug on its location at 312 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica.  The space is gutted and signs have been pulled down, and a for lease sign hangs on the front.  I’ll keep my eyes on the location to see if any brave eateries will give it a go, but I won’t hold my breath.