City West is one of Downtown LA’s least talked about neighborhoods due to its quiet (read: nothing to do) nature. However, things are definitely changing for the better as new projects like the residential mixed-user, 1111 Wilshire, and the Good Samaritan Hospital expansion are adding more urban bulk to the fledgling neighborhood-in-the-making. And now the latest addition to City West is Plan Check, an exciting new restaurant that opens today on Monday on the ground floor of the aforementioned 1111 Wilshire resi-complex. The new downtown location is the third one for the restaurant, which is the brainchild of Terry Heller who has two other Plan Check locations: one on Sawtelle and another on Fairfax near Canters Deli. The downtown location was announced in April 2013.
Wow! First announced in February 2013 almost two years ago, the very much anticipated Tender Greens is now finally open in Downtown LA! Although it soft opened this past Friday, the first official opening day will be tomorrow on Monday, October 20. Due to the historic nature of the space inside the 1908 PacMutual Building at 6th/Olive, many construction delays postponed the opening of the restaurant by almost 10 months. Downtown residents and office workers have been waiting eagerly for Tender Greens — known for their simple, healthy and delicious menu — to open, helping to activate once sleepy 6th Street in the Financial District into the next eatery hotspot. The great news everyone who lives and works downtown should know is that the new downtown location will be open for dinner. I repeat, Tender Greens in Downtown LA will be open for dinner!
If you’ve passed by the O Hotel recently in South Park, you may have noticed a new sign installed above a doorway directly next to the boutique hotel’s main Flower Street entrance called “D’Vine.” Going through the doorway will lead you immediately down a flight of stairs into a new wine lounge in the hotel’s basement that feels like you’ve escaped into a hidden gem somewhere in Tuscany but with a modern twist. Once you’re inside the dimly lit (and romantic!) space, you are greeted with a rustic and cozy atmosphere with its contrast of light and dark elements like the solid brown wood tables and wrought iron lattice dividers set against the creamy off-white walls. The most striking design feature that immediately stands out is a window to the left of the entrance that stretches the entire length of the room that “looks out” into the basement’s exposed brick wall making it feel like you’re actually on ground level as opposed to being in a basement.
Another great addition is added to the growing list of casual and approachable dining spots in Downtown LA’s Financial District great for office workers (and residents alike). A new restaurant from the Bay Area called Asian Box opened this week at 5th and Figueroa across the street from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Originally from Palo Alto, Asian Box opened in 2012 focusing on Vietnamese street food with most ingredients sourced from local farmers. The restaurant offers diners a quick way to grab fresh tasty food in a similar fashion to Chipotle divided into three easy steps: 1) start your box (meal) with rice, salad, or noodles, 2) pick your protein, and 3) add on anything else you want from a yummy list of veggies, spices, and sauces all made in-house from scratch. And throw in a couple of delicious shrimp spring rolls while you’re at it!
[Update 10/7/14: Apparently I jumped the gun last night when I looked up and saw the rainbow colors, got excited, and assumed the colors were lit up to celebrate the expansion of LGBT rights (read below) when it was actually meant to signify the Special Olympics are opening offices inside the tower as well as hosting the summer games next year in Los Angeles. It was definitely a major coincidence that these two events fell exactly on the same day. The confusion stemmed from the fact that the international symbol for the LGBT community, recognized around the world, just so happens to be the colors of the rainbow. This brings up an obvious glaring issue that the US Bank Tower needs to inform the public on their website what the colors on top actually mean (like what the ESB does in NYC). Nevertheless, I'd still like to think the rainbow colors represented both significant events: the Special Olympics coming to LA and the advancement for LGBT rights. Win win for all.]
Tonight, Downtown LA’s Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) was lit up with rainbow colors celebrating a major milestone in LGBT rights in America. Earlier on Monday, 11 states legalized same-sex marriage as a result of the Supreme Court strategically declining to hear appeals from five states. The beautiful crown at the top of the tower — still the west coast’s tallest skyscraper — lit up brightly with red, green, purple, yellow, and blue that could be seen from miles away.
After finding out that a Gap Factory Store is slated to open on Broadway (near 8th Street) instead of a regular Gap, some people (including myself) were a bit disappointed for obvious reasons. Why would Gap put an outlet store in Downtown LA? With so many new higher end retail stores opening nearby (i.e., Acne Studios, Aesop, OAK NYC, etc), why wouldn’t Gap open a regular store — maybe even a flagship store to make a huge impressive statement like what Zara and H&M did at FIGat7th? Both stores are now one of the highest performing locations in their respective chains in Southern California proving that “untested” Downtown LA is definitely capable of being a viable market for retail.
Downtown Dark Nights at L.A. LIVE
DTLA’s best night of the month is back on Friday, October 3 with the same awesome $5 food and drink deals, $5 parking and even more live entertainment! Team LA will be having a huge sale again featuring 40% off most items and added to the mix is a curated artisanal marketplace made up of local vendors selling handcrafted goods.
Participating L.A. LIVE restaurants include: Katsuya, Rock ‘N Fish, The Farm of Beverly Hills, Lucky Strike Lanes, Red Mango, Rosa Mexicano, Tom’s Urban, Smashburger, Lawry’s Carvery, The Mixing Room, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and The Conga Room.
Grab your friends and start the weekend off right at Dark Nights!
For more info, please click here.
Another reason to head over to the Little Tokyo Galleria at 3rd/Alameda, which is going from a once completely dead mall to a fun and interesting spot to visit again for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Adding to that is a brand new Daiso Japan store that opened this past weekend on the first floor of the 3-story shopping center. At 8,300 square feet large, it’s packed with just about everything you can imagine! For those unfamiliar with Daiso, it’s basically like a Japanese version of LA’s 99 Cents Only store except most items are $1.50 at Daiso. And pretty much all the products in the store are also “Daiso branded,” which includes just about everything you can think of from common household items to office and school supplies, stuff for the bathroom and kitchen, products for pets, handy storage containers, holiday decorations, to useful electronic items like mini USB cables. Oh yeah, and there’s also a pretty sizeable snack section stocked with Asian goodies.
SoCal Connected just aired this great episode about Grand Central Market on KCET last night. Reporter Nic Cha Kim chats with the local downtown community (including myself) as well as vendors within the historic food hall (Eggslut, Belcampo, etc), asking some pertinent questions like: How do the new (relatively more expensive) vendors affect Grand Central Market and what does it mean for Downtown LA?
Check out the video above and learn more about Downtown LA’s historic 1917 Grand Central Market on KCET’s website.
Long anticipated, today it was finally revealed what hotel brand would take over the upper portion of Downtown LA’s newest and most exciting ground-up development in years — the Wilshire Grand Tower. The new hotel will be an Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts with 900 rooms. It’ll be the first hotel on the west coast to have a sky lobby (on the 70th floor) and will be considered the largest Intercontinental in the Americas according to a press release.
Earthbar is now officially open at the PacMutual Building on 6th Street in Downtown LA’s Financial District. For those who aren’t familiar with Earthbar, the easiest way to think about them is a wellness brand that promotes a healthy diet and lifestyle. The store menu offers a wide selection of fresh smoothies like Muscle Up (packed with protein) and Green Detox (made with bananas, pineapple, hemp milk and raw kale). In addition to smoothies, there’s also acai bowls, “concentrated liquid nutrition” shots, and Superfood Coffee that adds goji, rooibos and honey bush to coffee made with Arabica beans. At the front of the store, there’s a grab-and-go section offering pressed juices and pre-made packaged foods and snacks (like spirulina-cashew bars). To top off the health kick, there’s a large selection of vitamins and other supplements located next to the pre-made meals.
Brisbane, Australia-based travel agency, Flight Centre USA (FC USA), is planning to open a “hyperstore” of its Liberty Travel brand in Downtown LA by early next year. This new exciting concept will bring to Los Angeles a different and more dynamic way of interacting with your travel agency. The very first hyperstore opened in New York in late 2012 with a 10,000 square foot space on Madison Ave. The second hyperstore opened in Boston in late 2013. Los Angeles will be the first west coast city to open a Liberty Travel hyperstore upgrading from its current smaller store location near 7th and Flower in the Financial District.
Drugstores are ubiquitous and a daily part of life in most large city centers in America. Go to New York and you won’t be more than a block or two away from a Duane Reade store. Go to Chicago and the same is true for Walgreens (which actually owns Duane Reade). Even internationally speaking in Taipei (where my dad lives), you’re never too far from a Watsons store. Here in our growing Downtown LA, we have two Rite Aid stores — one at 7th/Hope and one at 5th/Broadway — and both stores have been a complete let down, unfortunately. The one at 5th and Broadway has been a huge thorn in the side of downtown revitalization as residents nearby have continuously complained about the store’s shoddy appearance and lack of concern toward the “shady activities” that take place right outside their front door. Some have even called it a “cesspool.” That’s why it’s so exciting for me to find out that some real positive changes are finally coming. In fact, half of it is already here. The Rite Aid store at 7th/Hope, which was the lesser of two evils, has just completed a, dare I say, beautiful remodeling job that has changed the shopping experience there completely.
One of the most magnificent civic structures in all of LA is close to reopening after being shut down for two decades since the 1994 Northridge earthquake left the building red tagged due to severe damage. Fortunately, the 1925 Hall of Justice designed in the Beaux Arts style was not demolished. Instead, the county-owned structure located in LA’s civic center — once the headquarters for the sheriff, district attorney, and coroner — was saved after almost a decade of fundraising efforts spearheaded by former Sheriff Lee Baca that started in 2004.