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.
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.
Thanksgiving might look and feel different this year. Managing COVID-19 has brought many changes to our lives, and I’m guessing this Holiday will not be exempt. But it is still a good time of year to reflect on gratitude. I’m very grateful to all my dedicated readers for giving me the inspiration and support to keep exploring the LA food scene. Wishing all of you a joyous and meaningful Holiday, whatever it looks like. Happy Thanksgiving from Toddrickallen! Stay safe…
Opening a new restaurant during COVID is dicey. One plucky contender throwing caution to the wind is Potato Chips Deli. They are moving into the space formerly occupied by Wexler’s Deli in the food court of the Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Potato Chips Deli currently operates two other locations (Beverly Grove and Culver City). Sandwiches are their specialty: check out their menu here. We wish them the best of luck.
With all the restaurant closures taking place, I’m cheered to see new ones on the way. A big banner hangs above the space at 8730 S Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester announcing that a new “fresh, authentic Mediterranean” eatery is close to opening. Kebab Bar promises a menu of hummus, falafel, and kebab based on “multi-generational family recipes”. We wish them the best of luck.
It was back in 2016 when I first noticed that caterer and restaurateur Lisa Erikson was bringing a branch of her brick and mortar eatery Lisa’s Cafe & Bakery to a space in the Elevon multi-use complex at 741 N. Douglas St. in El Segundo. Sadly, it appears she has decided to close this branch. But you can still pick up her signature breakfasts, salads, and sandwiches at her Torrance location…
Sadly, I just noticed that Soom Soom Fresh Mediterranean has vacated its location in The Works development, at 700A S. Allied Way in El Segundo. It was only back in February of last year when I first told you about Soom Soom‘s expansion into area’s rapidly changing dining scene. This particular address hasn’t had much luck keeping tenants: This is the third restaurant that has called it quits.
I recently heard from a devastated reader who had just discovered that The Halal Guys had quit their West Hollywood location at 8919 Santa Monica Blvd. (They actually closed in June). But I went by to check out the space anyway. As it turns out, there was an ABC application posted on the front. No business name is listed, but the online license information states that the name of the new establishment will be Gym Sportsbar and Grill. You may recall that LA’s branch of Gym Sportsbar operated a location for 10 years at 8737 Santa Monica Blvd., but closed down in June due to challenges related to COVID-19. Gym Sportsbar bills itself as “the first and only gay sports bar in Los Angeles”. We wish them the best of luck.
It appears that after a solid run in the Westfield Century City Shopping Center, Italian cheese specialist Obicà Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina has vacated its second floor location. Windows are papered over and signs are pulled down. I bellieve that means that only two locations in New York are the last U.S. vestiges of the international chain, known for flying in fresh Mozzarella di Bufala weekly.
I’ve been hearing from excited readers about the latest addition to the Westwood dining scene. So I went by to check it out. Nick The Greek Souvlaki & Gyro House is now up and running in the space that used to house D1 Cafe at 10959 Kinross. Nick The Greek operates a number of locations, mostly north of here. Look for a menu of, you guessed it, souvlaki and gyro, as well as falafel, burgers, salads, and soup. We wish them the best of luck…
I first told you about the expansion of Sunnin Lebanese Cafe into Downtown Santa Monica back in 2015. Sadly, it appears that the times have gotten the better of them. All signage has been pulled down and the windows are papered over, a sure indication that they have vacated their location at 525 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 120.
I heard from a number of devastated readers that beloved quiet neighborhood powerhouse Pizzicotto had permanently closed its doors at 11758 San Vicente in Brentwood, so I went by to have a look. Sure enough, the Italian bolthole has papered over their windows, and Yelp has pronounced them closed. They will be sorely missed by their legions of fans. I’ll keep my eye on the space to see what may develop.
I noticed new window covering on the diminutive space that used to house short-lived Astro Donghnuts & Fried Chicken at 2309 Main St. in Santa Monica. Upon closer inspection, the covering reveals that something called Alfalfa is moving in. And what is Alfalfa? As it turns out, the only other branch is in Hoboken, New Jersey, so this will be their first LA area branch. Look for a menu of salads, soups, breakfast burritos, and doughnuts served in a “warm atmosphere”. While it looks like they’re still developing the Santa Monica menu, you can check out the menu of their Hoboken location here. We wish them the best of luck.
An eagle-eyed reader (Thanks Jennifer!) noticed that something was missing from the strip mall on the corner of Sepulveda and Olympic, so I went by to check it out. Sure enough, longtime resident and local go-to for Korean, Kalbis Grill has disappeared from their space at 11102 W Olympic. A sign of the times: the space has been quickly converted into a COVID-19 test center.
Update: Thanks J for keeping me straight, Kalbis turned into Poke Republic, Subway turned into the COVID testing center.
A sad day for movie goers on the Westside… Popular local institution Westside Tavern, at 10850 W Pico Blvd., has decided to pull the plug. Today (10/31/2020) is their last day of service. For over 10 years, their no-reservation policy ensured stampedes of people running from the theater above to be the first in line for their inventive, playful food and stiff cocktails. “Continuing challenges from the pandemic” are to blame. They will be missed. Read their gracious goodbye letter here.
I recently heard from one of the founders of Mrs. Winson’s, otherwise known as “L.A.’s Best Salad Bar”. He asked me to pass on to my readers that the beloved Century City branch has reopened at 1999 Avenue of the Stars as of last week. They are making available their “award winning salad bar online for carry out, [and] curbside pick up” and are open 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Good news for busy office workers nearby…
A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Jeremy!) noticed a new banner hanging over the space that used to house a branch of Smashburger, at 10704B Venice Blvd. in Culver City. I went by to have a look. Sure enough, this address will soon be the home of a branch of Dave’s Hot Chicken. This will be the seventh location for the poultry purveyor, but they apparently have plans on a larger expansion, including branches in Northridge and Fountain Valley.
On a tip from a reader (Thanks Michael!), I went by the location of longtime neighborhood fave breakfast spot The OP Cafe a 3117 Ocean Park Blvd. to see what was going on. A banner hung on the front announces a new tenant, Order For Me Deli. OFMD describe themselves as a “restaurant tech company” where the concept is that diners order and pay on their phones (timely, no?). The menu is designed by Chef Greg Daniels of The Golden Bull (The OP Cafe‘s sister restaurant) and includes all-day breakfasts, salads, bowls, and something called beef on weck, which is sliced beef that is roasted overnight and served on a Kimmelweck roll. They are open from 7am to 8 pm (9pm Friday and Saturday) and have patio seating as well as take-out. We wish them the best of luck.
And while we’re on the subject of The Point... It appears that Umi by Hamasaku has given up the ghost at thier location at 8050 S Sepulveda in El Segundo. Umi caused quite a stir when it expanded to this neck of the woods from West LA, bringing Hamasaku chef Yoya Takahashi’s signature sushi and izakaya dishes.