I have been following the proposed redevelopment of the Wilshire Grand Hotel ever since I first learned about it back in early 2009. And I am very excited about the future of Downtown LA and that things are definitely moving forward as the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved (yesterday) the proposed plans to redevelop the aging hotel by replacing it with two brand new towers.
I’m always glad to see investments by the city when it comes to pedestrian oriented development. In the Playhouse District, a new traffic signal has gone up at the intersection of Union and Oakland, which can get pretty busy with pedestrians as the area has become more of a destination over the years.
It was officially announced last month that the Los Angeles County transportation agency, Metro, was purchasing the beautiful but underutilized Union Station from a private owner. Even though it is underutilized (ridership could be higher) and has so much more potential (more varied uses on site), Union Station is still the undisputed hub of transit on the entire West Coast (west of Chicago to be exact).
The popular eatery, Tender Greens, serving “health-conscious foods” that started in Culver City has expanded across LA from Hollywood to West Hollywood to Santa Monica and now Pasadena (it is also rumored that Tender Greens is actively looking for a space in Downtown LA as well). The small but growing LA-based chain focuses on the “conscious connection between the one who eats the food and the source of that sustenance.”
By now, most people have heard that one of LA’s oldest surviving restaurants, Clifton’s Cafeteria and the helm of its future direction, was transferred over recently (late last year) to successful bar operator, Andrew Meieran, who according to the LA Weekly, “took out a 50-year lease (10 years with four 10-year options, with an option to buy) on the restaurant.”
Watch this 1-minute video on the Downtown LA 2011 survey
The Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) wants to know what presses your button about DTLA. Local bars and restaurants? Artwalk? Historic buildings? What made you first fall in love with Downtown? In conjunction with the 2011 Downtown demographic survey, the Downtown Center BID is sponsoring a Downtown LA “Love Button” at www.facebook.com/DTLAsurvey, which links people directly to the survey.
A bunch of new restaurant signs (four total) have gone up recently in Old Pasadena. None of the restaurants have actually opened yet, but the new signs do announce their eventual arrival into the ever changing restaurant scene here in Pasadena. In a few weeks and/or months, we’ll be seeing a new group of restaurants opening up and serving food from Himalayan to Ukrainian.
Check out the pictures below.
Another new lounge is coming soon to the continuously evolving, and relatively new, “Restaurant Row of Downtown LA” along 7th Street. Within the past 5 years, 7th Street has seen multiple new restaurants open along 4 blocks that stretch from Figueroa to Olive St. Restaurants like Wokcano, Dublin’s Irish Pub, Sugar Fish Sushi, Bottega Louie, Soi 7, and Mas Malo are just some of the names that have put Downtown LA on the foodie map.
All you need to do is watch the video (above) I recorded on the Lake Ave Gold Line station to understand (and hear) how loud the cars and trucks are as they zoom by the train platform–constantly–assaulting the ears from both sides. Transit riders wait on these platforms embedded in the middle of freeways on the Gold and Green Lines and are subjected, helplessly, to deafening noise and exhaust fumes. Very unpleasant.
One of the first newer restaurants to open in Downtown LA during the renaissance of the last few years was Daily Grill at 6th/Flower back in 2005. The restaurant quickly shot up to one of the highest grossing locations in the entire chain as the demand from the lunch crowd kept the restaurant busier than ever.
I was super excited when I learned about this brand new restaurant called Eco-Asian coming to Downtown LA’s ever-growing “Restaurant Row” along 7th Street (across the street from Bottega Louie). Not only do I love Asian food, but this restaurant will have it all. A fusion menu that runs almost the entire Asian gamut: Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese.
It was great to see a fairly large crowd of customers attend the grand opening of Fillmore West Station (FWS) Cafe this weekend located adjacent to the Fillmore Gold Line station. A musical band performing on the recently remodeled Fillmore station transit plaza celebrated the opening of a cafe that could provide a glimpse into the future as businesses and residents cluster around transit rail stations.
We all know what Chipotle is and it’s no surprise I’m a huge fan of their delicious burritos (chicken and beef are my favs). Downtown LA had always lacked a large variety of “cheap good eats” that anyone could just pop in spontaneously when they’re hungry to grab a quite bite to eat. I know I’ll definitely be visiting this Chipotle when it opens up at the corner of 7th/Grand in a few weeks.
More pictures of the inside of Chipotle below.
You could say Dublin’s Irish Pub is a tough cookie, a survivor with a somewhat tumultuous history. Dublin’s initially started out in West Hollywood located on what used to be the hottest nightlife scene in Los Angeles along Sunset Blvd. It attracted a strong following as one of the main watering holes along The Strip.
It’s been about a month since AKA Bistro opened in Old Pasadena. There was a lot of excitement when we found out AKA Bistro was coming to town. The restaurant, owned by Robert Simon, is a concept that started in Napa Valley and had become Michelin-recommended for its fusion cuisine and extensive wine list.