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Restaurant Closings

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Firenze Osteria - LAWEEKLY.COM
Firenze Osteria, Fabio Viviani's North Hollywood restaurant, will close tomorrow, July 31. The restaurant will reopen some time in the future with Viviani as chef, but with new ownership. 

Viviani opened Firenze in late 2009, right after his initial ascent to fame on Bravo's fifth season of Top Chef. At the time of its opening, the restaurant was a hit, though Los Angeles Times critic Irene Virbila gave it a poor review, saying "what I didn't expect was a menu so conventional it reads like a tourist trap — mostly generic dishes from no particular region. Italian Food for Dummies." LA Weekly couldn't improve upon that opinion, and never wrote about the restaurant. 

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Red Bread's cozy storefront - AMY SCATTERGOOD
  • Amy Scattergood
  • Red Bread's cozy storefront
After one year of operations in the western end of Culver City, Red Bread, the small-batch bakery, shop and café, has closed. But don't despair: It will be re-opening in the fall, in a different location.

In the mean time, its popular wild-yeast breads and pastries will still be available at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market. The Magical Grocery Tour Sunday delivery service and catering will continue as well during the transition.

The reason for the closing? According to Rose Lawrence, "While we are so thankful for the community that grew with us this past year in Culver City, we have split the seams in our tiny shop though and it is time to move to bigger digs."  Tiny is right: It had just one communal table with 10 small stools, plus a few outdoor tables. After just 12 months at that location, Lawrence and business partner/husband David Lawrence decided now was the time to go. 

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Joseph "Pepy" Gonzalez - PHOTO: JENN SWANN
  • Photo: Jenn Swann
  • Joseph "Pepy" Gonzalez
Pepy's Galley, the circa-1960 diner attached to AMF Mar Vista Lanes, lately feels more like a funeral parlor than the friendly neighborhood joint its lifelong customers remember. That's because the nautical-themed coffee shop is facing eviction on June 30, when BowlmorAMF, the country's largest 10-pin bowling center operator, takes ownership of the building and begins major renovations. Those renovations include turning Pepy's Galley into an in-house food service that caters to the bowling center. 

Since the news broke a little more than a month ago, neighborhood crowds have been pouring into Pepy's brown vinyl booths and bar stools to show their support and order a patty melt - just $6.95, made with 13 ounces of ground chuck and served on toasted sourdough - or a bowl of the famous house-made chili one last time.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Restaurant Closings

The End of Allumette

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Thu, May 29, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Chef Miles Thompson, center, in the kitchen at Allumette - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Chef Miles Thompson, center, in the kitchen at Allumette
Yesterday afternoon the news came in that Allumette, the Echo Park restaurant, will close at the end of next month. It's a surprise, certainly, but also almost as much of a surprise that the restaurant lasted as long as it did.

I don't say this dismissively - I'm a fan of chef Miles Thompson's cooking, a fan of bartender Serena Herrick's cocktails, and a fan in general of weird little restaurants in up-and-coming neighborhoods that play by their own rules. But those restaurants are a gamble, always. From the first meal I ate at Allumette I worried that its days were numbered, not because it was flawed (which it was, slightly) but because it was so unexpected. 

"I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore cuisine at Allumette and can't express enough how much I appreciate those who have championed us over the last year and a half," Thompson told me yesterday. "It has been an incredible experience."

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Restaurant Closings

Haven Gastropub + Brewery in Pasadena Closes

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Mon, May 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM
HAVEN COLLECTIVE
  • Haven Collective
The supposedly cursed Old Town Pasadena address of 42 S. De Lacey Ave. claimed another restaurant casualty this weekend: three-year-old Haven Gastropub + Brewery, which unexpectedly closed its doors on Saturday, May 17.

Customers Sunday were greeted with a sign on the door that said "Go to Lucky Baldwins" and by afternoon, a status update on the brewpub's Facebook page clarified that they had to shut their doors "due to circumstances beyond our control."

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Food in the pickup window - JARED COWAN
  • Jared Cowan
  • Food in the pickup window
Few things are as bittersweet as witnessing the closing of your favorite neighborhood restaurant. And the mood in the air was decidedly bittersweet yesterday at Ernie Jr.'s Taco House in Eagle Rock, which will close its doors today, Saturday, April 19. So, if you're going, get there quickly.

Ernie Cruz, the owner of Ernie Jr.'s, made his way around the dining room shaking hands and talking to long-time customers who thanked him for sharing his restaurant over the years. Customers like Viela Kawamoto brought photos shot over the restaurant's 41-year run to have Cruz sign. Kawamoto, who started going to Ernie Jr.'s Pasadena location almost 60 years ago, said visiting Ernie Jr.'s "was like coming home." She's visited the restaurant 10 times over the last two weeks since hearing about the closing.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Formosa Cafe - LESLIE KALOHI VIA FLICKR
We give protected designation to buildings, to natural wonders and to battlefields. We do not, for the most part, bestow such honors on bars. This is a shame - especially in L.A., where our vintage bars hold a wealth of culture in their booze-soaked floors and sticky vinyl booths.

One such Los Angeles haunt is the Formosa Cafe, the 89-year-old bar on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue in West Hollywood. The Formosa has deep history as the favored bar for many, many golden-age movie stars, whose photos line the walls. Made up in part of an old Red Car trolley, the red-and-black - lacquered interior has barely changed since its heyday. In 1991, when the Formosa was threatened with demolition to make way for a parking structure, the city's Cultural Heritage Advisory Board declared it a landmark, cementing the bar's status as a protected pocket of Old Hollywood amidst the towering big-box consumerism of new Hollywood.

The problem is that, despite its history, not many people were eating there. So recently an innovative partnership was formed, between Formosa's owner, Vincent Jung, Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman, and Red Medicine's chef Jordan Kahn and manager Noah Ellis. The Formosa itself wouldn't change, but Kahn and co. would install a chef in the kitchen turning out Red Medicine - esque food. 

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Restaurant Closings

Chi Lin Closes Its Doors

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Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 7:45 AM
The dining room at Chi Lin - COURTESY INNOVATIVE DINING GROUP
  • Courtesy Innovative Dining Group
  • The dining room at Chi Lin
It's been just under a year since Innovative Dining Group opened Chi Lin, the modern Chinese restaurant in West Hollywood. But yesterday the news came that the restaurant had closed after service on Sunday night. 

In its short run, Chi Lin went through a couple of chefs, including Yujean Kang, who is well known for Yujean Kang's Gourmet Chinese, which he ran in Pasadena for more than 20 years. After he left, Tyson Wong took over the kitchen. Dishes such as crab and uni xiao long bao and BBQ orange baby back ribs seemed to be catering to a tourist crowd.  The decor was mind-bending, the food expensive. But despite the hype and location, it didn't work in the long run. 

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Z-Bar at Zinga! in Culver City - PHOTO: J. SWANN
  • Photo: J. Swann
  • Z-Bar at Zinga! in Culver City
Dear Zinga!, 

I got your text this morning. I know it's been a while since we've seen each other, but I was a little shocked to hear the news: "This message is to notify our loyal customers that Zinga will be sadly closing our doors tomorrow night, Sat. Jan. 25th." 

The text came suddenly at 11:48 this morning, and without any warning. I guess I should've seen the signs that what we had wouldn't last, dear Zinga!, but I just wish you would've told me in person. I'm hurt not only because you ended our relationship by text message, but that you did so by mass text. OK, not even a mass text - an automated text. It's like you don't even know who I am anymore, Zinga!. 

It's true that in the beginning I was loyal to you. When you moved into my neighborhood in early 2013, I would walk all the way to see you nearly every day on my lunch break. I craved you at all hours of the day. I couldn't get enough of you, Zinga!. Yes, you were cultured, and you were sweet and you were new in town, and if you must know, yes I found you incredibly luscious and fruity. 

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Coffee at Home Brewed Bar - C. CHIAO
  • C. Chiao
  • Coffee at Home Brewed Bar
December rounds out a year that's seen the closure of longtime institutions like Empress Pavilion and the introduction of restaurants that have shown a lot of promise in becoming classics in their own right. While it's too early to say which among the new will become a  favorite, there's been no shortage of new restaurants vying for consideration.

Downtown alone has seen the addition of several new spots for food and drink. DTLA Cheese opened inside Grand Central Market during the week of Christmas. The Must Bar reopened after a three-year hiatus, straying not too far from the Historic Core. The list of nightcap options in Little Tokyo grew with the Wolf & Crane. On the other side of downtown, the dining options at FIGat7th expanded with the launch of Torta Company and Loteria Grill as well as Twist & Grill. Check out what other restaurants have opened -- and closed -- around town.

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