Good news people of Beverly Hills, high-end goceries are heading your way! Many of you grieved when I told you about the closure of the much-beloved Williams Sonoma at 339 N Beverly Dr. Wasting no time, window coverings are informing us that this location will eventually be an outpost of popular (if pricey) natural foods grocer Erewhon. It appears that they are taking their time: They’re shooting for an opening next year.
It appears a new culinary training program is coming to the Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Plywood is up announcing the arrival of Little Kitchen Academy. LKA uses a Montessori approach to teach “children and teenagers to take a mindful and sustainable approach to food preparation”. This will be the first US location for the Canadian brand.
This post is for all those concerned readers who wrote me inquiring about their beloved Margo’s restaurant at 1534 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. In the last wave of COVID shutdowns, Margo’s closed like every other restaurant… but it never reopened. For all intents and purposes it appeared that the popular eatery was throwing in the towel. Well… you can all breathe a collective sigh of relief: A banner hanging over the door is announcing to all that Margo’s is back.
The food court of the Westfield Century City Shopping Center has been hit particularly hard over the past year, and there remain a number of empty spaces. But one plucky contender is giving it a go… Mochinut has moved into the space most recently occupied by Beleaf Cafe. And what is Mochinut? According to their website, they specialize in mochi donuts, which are combination of American doughnuts and Japanese mochi that they describe as having a “unique shape and wonderful texture; light crispy coating with soft chewy inside”. They also offer “Korean Rice Flour hotdogs”. Mochinut currently has 10 US locations with 30 more in the works as well as upcoming locations in South Korea and Thailand.
While no one was looking, a delightful new coffee and pastry spot opened recently in Santa Monica. Readers have been letting me know how excited they are… once they find it. You probably didn’t notice the little charmer Paderia Bakehouse because it faces the parking lot behind the newly refurbished former bank building at 3032 Wilshire Blvd. (corner of Berkeley). It took me a while to find it as well, but once discovered, you’ll be rewarded with menu of coffees, teas, horchata, pudding, pastries, and cultishly popular Portuguese Egg Tarts. Paderia has locations in Irvine and Fountain Valley, but this is the Westside’s first.
The hidden little space at 11740 San Vicente Blvd. Suite 104 has had a bumpy ride since its under-the-radar glam industry spot La Scala quit the location. For a while it was a short-lived French eatery called Meet In Paris, but mostly it has sat empty. That’s about to change. There’s an ABC application posted on the front announcing that this space will soon be a branch of Santa Monica’s perpetually popular Italian powerhouse Rosti Tuscan Kitchen. (They also have a branch in Calabases as well.) Brentwood sure does love its Italian restaurants…
Good people of Brentwood, carbs are heading your way! With one other pop-up store in Culver City, Pop’s Bagels is moving into the space that used to be home to Alfred Tea Room at 11928 San Vicente Blvd. And what makes Pop’s special? Their three flavors of bagels (plain, everything, and cinnamon raisin) are made in small batches throughout the day ensuring crispy, hot perfection. They also make their own cream cheeses and cultured butter from scratch. We wish them the best of luck.
A new Latin American restaurant plans on opening April 23 in the old Estate space at 1519 Wilshire Blvd. La Condesa is the latest project of Misael Guerrero. Guerrero, who originally hails from Sinaloa, is the man behind the rapidly expanding chain Culichitown and Mama Por Dios. He is known for his Mexican sushi and lively atmospheres. We wish him the best of luck.
Good news, Westsiders! From out of nowhere, a tiny outpost of LA’s iconic Canter’s Deli has appeared in the strip mall on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Bundy in Santa Monica (12109 Santa Monica Blvd. to be exact). This miraculous apparition is now up and running from 10:30AM to 9:00pm and is offering a takeaway menu of Canter’s classics, including their legendary soups, sandwiches, black and white cookies, salads, and breakfasts. You’re welcome.
Erratum: Thanks KJ, this is officially West LA.
I first noticed that Runway Playa Vista was bulding something called Free Market back in 2019. Free Market has two other locations and describes itself an “ever-evolving collective” of “curated products, services, and experiences”. They are close to opening; Their website says May 1, but I was told April 16. In any case, here’s the food lineup: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, something called Joliet Cafe and Bar, and Loqui, which began as a Mexican pop-up at Tartine in San Francisco.
Check out what they built in the middle of The Third Street Promenade, between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd. There’s a new beer garden operated by popular local watering hole West 4th & Jane. And just to the north of that is a new oyster bar brought to you by nearby restaurant The Independence. What a great idea!
Things just got tastier for the aerospace crowd in El Segundo. There’s now a branch of beloved sandwich chain Ike’s Love & Sandwiches in the little shopping center at 460 N Pacific Coast Highway. Ike’s started in San Francisco in 2007 and now has more that 55 locations. It is known for its unique flavor combinations and “dirty sauce”.
While I’ve been watching the transformation of the former Starbucks at 1426 Montana Ave Ste. 4 (corner of 15th), it was a reader (Thanks again, Kurt!) who sleuthed out the next tenant. While no signs are up yet, I had a chance to speak with someone inside who confirmed what Kurt had discovered: This is to be California’s first branch of Texas’ La La Land Kind Cafe. And what is that? La La Land is a “socially conscious” cafe on a mission to “normalize kindness” by hiring foster youth who, when they turn 18, are often aged out of the system with few supports. I don’t have any confirmation that this will be the model here, but La La Land provides real opportunity and apparently some really good coffee. They offer an extensive menu of coffee and tea, signature drinks, and toasts. We sincerely wish the the best of luck.
I first learned of Cinderella Cakes arrival to 214 S Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills back in Summer of 2019. Sadly, they have vacated the location, leaving an opportunity for a new star bakery. There’s now a notice on the front that this will be the new home of a branch of ever-popular Sweet Lady Jane. And according to their website, they will soon be bringing their signature Triple Berry Cakes to Manhattan Beach as well.
I recently noticed an ABC application taped to the front of what had been formerly understated sandwich shop Everyday Cafe Seletto in a quieter part of The Golden Triangle at 434 N Camden. The application lists the new business as Beverly Bar. According to this article, the owner Matthew Raanan is working in partnership with Chef Felix Garcia owner of Toca Madera and Tocaya Organica. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of info out there quite yet.
I’d been keeping an eye on the location that used to house popular tourist restaurant Trastevere at 1360 Third St. Promenade to see what would develop. Recently, an ABC application went up on the front naming the new business. With locations in Woodland Hills and Huntington Beach, HQ Gastropub appears to be moving in. Expect a menu of “Global cuisine”, high quality beer, wine and spirits, and decor with a “motif of musical artists, fashionable design, and classic vintage guitars”.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I told you about the heartbreaking closure of the beloved Sawtelle Japantown institution Hurry Curry of Tokyo. Wasting no time whatsoever, it appears a new eatery is moving into their old space at 2131 Sawtelle Blvd. There’s a banner that recently went up announcing the impending arrival of bb.q Chicken, a Korean chain with locations across the US and known for frying in olive oil.
The neon cow has been spotted in Century City. It’s covering the second floor space in the Westfield Century City Shopping Center, next to HaiDiLao Hotpot, and is assuring us that pudding experts Pudu Pudu are moving in. It looks like they’re planning on a Summer opening. No idea what Pudu Pudu is? Read my post about their location in Venice for more information.
I’m quietly optimistic about Downtown Santa Monica. During the Pandemic, many of the big chain stores and restaurants disappeared overnight. But there has been a recent uptick in activity, at least as far as restaurants are concerned. Many new projects are in the works: Trejo’s Tacos, Nick the Greek, Ugo Cafe, SMiZE Cream, Jinky’s Coffee, Winston are all moving in. And you can add one more name to that list: Practically overnight, a new charming coffee joint set up shop in the former location of Cafe Crepe at 1460 Third St. Promenade. Cult promises “food.coffee.cocktails” and is on a “mission is to pay homage to the city of Los Angeles, its chefs, dishes, drinks and trends”. Check out their menu here. We wish them the best of luck.