Tom N Tom’s Coffee is coming to the Little Tokyo Shopping Center at 3rd and Alameda (home to Woori Market). The new location in Little Tokyo will be their 8th cafe with most of their other locations in Koreatown. It is currently under construction near the front entrance of the mall right off of 3rd Street.
Last month, we got a peek inside the newly upgraded hotel rooms that are part of the process of the Kyoto Grand Hotel being converted to a DoubleTree by Hilton. Approximately 50% of the hotel rooms (there are 434 rooms total) have been upgraded to “DoubleTree standards.” As a result, the hotel is now considered past the half-way point of conversion (from Kyoto Grand to DoubleTree) and the signs for DoubleTree were installed on top of the 21-story hotel last week.
When most people think of grocery options in Downtown LA, the most popular one that comes to mind is Ralphs Fresh Fare in South Park. The central location near the Financial District and the prominent name recognition of Ralphs have made it the go-to place for most downtown residents. As a result of that concentrated shopping from downtowners, the Ralphs in Downtown LA is one of the highest grossing stores in the entire chain. Even so, it is inaccurate to say that Ralphs is the only large grocery store in Downtown LA. Little Tokyo’s Woori Market, a Korean market that replaced Mitsuwa Market in 2009, is a full-scale grocery store that downtown residents should take more advantage of, even when other options come to Downtown LA soon including City Target and Smart & Final Extra.
A couple of months ago we saw the beginning of Kyoto Grand Hotel’s transformation to a new DoubleTree by Hilton with the initial work on remodeling the plaza fronting 1st and Los Angeles St. Some other renovations within the hotel’s common areas were in progress including the replacement of carpeting and upgrading the fitness center. In addition, work had also begun on upgrading the rooms to “DoubleTree by Hilton standards.” I learned that after about 50% of the hotel’s rooms are upgraded (around the end of summer), the new DoubleTree by Hilton sign would also be installed on the hotel. I decided to check out the new rooms to give our readers a first look inside.
This past Memorial weekend while wandering Little Tokyo for somewhere to eat dinner, I discovered a Japanese-Chinese fusion restaurant called Manten that’s actually been around for awhile, but unfortunately, just a place I never knew about. Probably because it’s “hidden” in the Honda Plaza at 2nd/Alameda, which is a nondescript insular one-story suburban-style strip mall that’s just dying for a make-over. Sometimes the good ones are just a little harder to find. Manten is now one of my favorite new places to eat in Downtown LA that’s cheap, good, and has great service.
Last Wednesday in a presentation to the Little Tokyo community leaders, developer AvalonBay Communities, Inc. detailed their latest plans to build two mixed-use projects (residential over commercial) on two parcels within the 6-acre “Block 8” development site in Little Tokyo — bounded by 2nd, Los Angeles, and San Pedro.
Back in early March, a reader sent in a tip to watch for a new deli shop from the Crenshaw District, called Mike’s Deli, that was opening along First Street in the Little Tokyo and Civic Center area. Now, Mike’s Deli has been open for a little longer than a month and has added another eatery to a growing neighborhood in Little Tokyo. Already, it seems like Yelp reviewers have embraced the new location with 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Yesterday, the Little Tokyo Community Center announced that the Budokan Sports Complex received $5 million in California Prop 84 grant funds. The proposed Budokan would be built next to the Little Tokyo Branch of the LA Public Library at 2nd and Los Angeles St and would entail a 38,000 square foot community center with a four-court gymnasium (for basketball, volleyball, martial arts, etc.) and a rooftop garden with jogging track.