In an unique move, and in light of recent parking related issues, Mark Gold, chef/owner of Eva restaurant, made a plea via his newsletter and Facebook fan page, asking friends of the restaurant to help them raise money towards appealing to the city for a variance on their parking situation. The variance would allow them to have parking spots more than the mandated 750 feet away that was initially denied. Everyone who contributed to the successful campaign will be receiving credit at the restaurant. In a weak economy, is this the future of keeping businesses open? Move over Kickstarter.
According to city law, they must have parking spots within 750 feet of the restaurant -- which does have limited parking in the barely navigable back alley. The building itself, which Gold does not own, has been operating as a restaurant in several iterations for more than 10 years with a variety of solutions to the where-does-one-park issue. No solution so far has worked out or appeased the very vocal neighborhood association. The building, which has already required numerous upgrades, is zoned for commercial use, but the lease does not adequately address parking.
While this is happening, Gold is in Denmark, working at Noma - Restaurant Magazine's number one restaurant in the world -- as part of an incredibly competitive stagiaire program that he was accepted to months ago. With the eight hour time difference, and intense work schedule, he hasn't been able to address this head on. His wife Alejandra has worked around the clock to manage the situation.
Against the odds, (Where does one put cars where there are not spots to put them in?) Gold managed to find spots to rent for his valet service to use at an adjacent U.S. Post Office (which we can only assume can use the money in light of their own financial crisis) during dinner service, but the spots are 1,000 feet from the restaurant. The neighborhood - like most in Los Angeles - has incredibly limited parking, made even more limited by strict permit restrictions in the residential areas, so while the solution technically works, it is not within city regulations, thus the requested variance was denied. The law being the law and all.
If the Golds lose their appeal to have parking spots 1,000 feet away, the law states they can lose their liquor license as well. The "prettiest restaurant" is not known as a rowdy cocktail imbibers destination as much as a comfortable family restaurant (despite a full and eclectic drink menu), but as with all restaurants, sales of alcohol brings in a lot of revenue. Loss of their permit could ultimately drive the well-respected and much loved, business under.
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The deadline to contribute was today, and the full amount was raised via a Paypal page towards the cause, from friends, family and local vendors Eva supports, such as Weiser Family Farms. The hope is that the city will allow them the additional 250 feet distance, or give them enough time to find yet another solution now that the attorneys and filing fees have been paid.
You can read their letter of thanks on their campaign page.