One of the most beautiful coffee spaces to open in Downtown LA, Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters has debuted their first Los Angeles location in the up-and-coming Fashion District with a soft opening earlier today. The 1,600 square foot cafe faces Spring Street with an expansive glass entrance set back within the historic Primrose Design Building allowing for a spectacular outdoor patio seating area that’s intimately tucked away and covered from wall-to-wall-to-ceiling with living green vegetation.
Category Archives: downtown los angeles
Sure you can get ramen in Little Tokyo (and lots of it), but the whole point about living downtown — in a walkable city center — is being able to have convenient access to a variety of different foods and services nearby. If you live/work in the Financial District or South Park, there really isn’t a variety of Asian food outside sushi. For example, there’s hardly any Chinese, and a bowl of pho (Vietnamese) doesn’t exist. For someone who grew up in the SGV who’s used to eating all that variety of good authentic Asian food, it’s been the hardest part for me living downtown not having easy access to that. So that’s why I’m so excited that a new Japanese eatery called 3rd Generation brings delicious ramen (with my favorite hot yummy pork-based broth) to the Financial District. It doesn’t encompass everything Asian obviously, but it’s a good start for this part of downtown.
Okay, this is incredible! For those of us who have wanted Broadway to return to its old former glory as LA’s main high street, there are some very interesting rumors that Gucci — yes the designer label found in the most tony addresses in the world — has been exploring Broadway for a new store location. Without outing anyone in particular, a source has come forward claiming that reps for Gucci have made an offer to take over an existing business but was turned away by the store owner. Amazingly, after this source told me, I have heard Gucci’s name pop up several times from different disparate sources, which means something could definitely be brewing on the down low.
One of the most anticipated restoration projects in Downtown LA — the historic Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway — finally showed some very exciting activity that points to a possible opening date in the near future. Workers on a mechanical lift were seen over the weekend testing and installing new signage on the facade. Upon closer inspection, one can see that four blank white spaces are reserved for new signs that will be installed on the facade above the front entrance. Workers installed part of the new neon sign that reads “Established 1932″ with a font obviously inspired by historic photos of the restaurant (see below).
Announced last summer, Green Grotto Juice Bar officially opened earlier this month inside the beautiful Broadway-Spring Arcade. The 900 square foot space with outdoor patio seating (even though the whole arcade is technically indoor) sits next door to forthcoming British pub Royal Clayton’s and across from already popular eateries Gelateria ULI and Guisados, both added to the arcade in 2014. Green Grotto keeps its menu simple and refreshing. The juice bar offers, what else, but fresh organic juices made-to-order as well as smoothies and acai bowls for health-conscious downtowners. The owner, Keiran Roberts, has made the diminutive space packed with comfort with free WiFi and charging ports for added convenience.
When it was announced in 2010 that Neal and Amy Fraser’s venerable Fairfax district restaurant Grace was moving into the rectory of St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, the anticipation was palpable. Following the then recent debut of Bottega Louie, a re-launch of Grace seemed like the next feather in downtown’s dining cap. Suddenly, all went silent. After 5 years, unforeseen delays and a slight concept change, Chef Fraser’s latest dining experience, RedBird arrived in mid-December 2014. I’m happy to report that it was worth the wait.
The wait is finally over! 800 Degrees Pizzeria is officially opening in Downtown LA this Monday, Jan 26 after almost a-year-and-a-half since announcing they were opening downtown. The shuttered Provecho restaurant at 800 Wilshire has been transformed into a beautiful new space for the LA-based restaurant chain that, some say, started the whole “custom pizza craze” that spawned a slew of other similar concepts flooding the LA market (think Blaze, Pizza Studio, Pieology, etc).
Good news! Another national gym chain is coming to Downtown LA — Planet Fitness (first spotted on Racked LA last week). But this time, instead of choosing to open in the Financial District where currently pretty much all of downtown’s membership gyms are clustered — Equinox, Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, YMCA, even newcomer City Athletix — Planet Fitness will be taking the brave leap toward the Historic Core near seedy 5th and Broadway. The new gym will take over the long abandoned (horrendous blue colored) Discount Citi building at 437 S Broadway a couple of doors north from Fallas Paredes, which also desperately needs to go. Calling Uniqlo please!
The reopening of the long shuttered Regent Theater in November 2014 has proven to be a huge boon to a once dormant stretch of Main Street in Downtown’s Old Bank District. Formerly an adult theater, the venue shut its doors in 2000 to be purchased six years later by Tom Gilmore. Following a deep recession and years of intermittent use as a gallery during Art Walk, the venue finally began its transformation into its latest iteration in 2012. With a range of live concerts and programming, it’s clear that the theater has found a second lease on life. The long vacant retail spaces flanking the theater’s entrance have also made a comeback. Re-imagined as Prufrock Pizzeria and The Love Song Bar, both have become welcome additions to a growing neighborhood that has seen an influx of new eateries including Kazu Nori and Sushi Zo to name a few.
As part of a push to make Downtown LA a cleaner urban center, 18 new special trash bins were purchased by the Downtown Center BID (DCBID) and placed last month near every intersection along 7th Street from Figueroa to Olive (that’s four blocks). With such high foot traffic along 7th Street — the busiest east-west pedestrian corridor in downtown — it made the most sense to begin a pilot program here with the hope that more people will be inclined to use these eye-catching bins, marked with the DCBID logo, instead of throwing litter on the ground.
This is when you know a city is finally starting to mature. Hidden spaces once forgotten and ignored are re-purposed and brought back to life. Pez Cantina — the new Mexican seafood restaurant helmed by chef Bret Thompson (of Milk) — has carved out a space within an office building on Bunker Hill, an up-and-coming district dominated by office skyscrapers aiming for activity even after the work day ends. What used to be an underutilized conference room in the lobby of the 26-story CBRE tower has been transformed into a gorgeous restaurant space with soaring high ceilings and an unique sprawling outdoor patio.
I really gotta hand it to The Ratkovich Company. After they purchased Macy’s Plaza in May 2013 from Jamison, it’s been nothing but positive changes that have happened under their new ownership as the fortress-looking shopping center built in 1972 (now renamed The Bloc) is in the midst of being completely remodeled from head-to-toe. Not only is the new tenant mix super exciting (i.e., SF’s Wingtip men’s store, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, etc.), but Ratkovich is doing everything they can to make the center approachable and pedestrian friendly, including the 8th Street side of the property located “in the back” of the complex. Because of the parking entrances and loading docks that must remain, it was tougher to figure out how to engage pedestrians on 8th Street. Ratkovich decided to implement permanent artistic murals on the large blank walls that line the south side of the property.
After a year run, the vegan eatery with the name that sadly never caught on, Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe, closed last year sometime in September. Now chef Christian Page (formerly of Short Order and recently Cassell’s Hamburgers at Hotel Normandie) will be converting the 2,700 square foot space in the Old Bank District into his next culinary concept called Tione’s on Main. Page will offer the reinterpretation of the classic deli sandwich using locally sourced organic produce and humanely/sustainably raised meats. Expect in-house cures and smoking techniques incorporated into the sandwich menu.
One of the most popular restaurants in Manhattan Beach, Little Sister, will be opening its second location in Downtown LA very soon. Chef Tin Vuong and business partner Jed Sanford of Blackhouse Hospitality will open on 7th Street near Bottega Louie. According to a tipster, the new downtown location will replace the shuttered Gaji directly next door to one of LA’s best sushi spots, Q Sushi.
Fashionistas rejoice! A new upscale women’s boutique called AltHouse just opened a couple of months ago at 8th and Main, pushing the new downtown development momentum east into the Fashion District. The new shop, located next door to Skingraft’s also new flagship store, adds to an exciting shopping district in the making within the Historic Core, which includes other nearby stores like Nudie Jeans, Urban Outfitters, Acne Studios, and APC’s new downtown location opening this spring. AltHouse offers a unique experience in both the brands it carries and the beautiful space it occupies.