You might assume that residents of the upscale community of Westlake Village have access to every imaginable amenity, but it seems something is missing — what they really, really crave is In-N-Out Burger.
This came up during planning discussions on The Shoppes at Westlake Village Center (which you know is going to be classy, because of the two “p”s.) Scheduled to open in July 2014 (near 101 freeway exit Lindero Canyon), the plaza will have more than 240,000 square feet of retail space, with half slated for a Target store.
“We've got some really cool restaurants coming in,” broker Mike Tingus, president of Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura office, said in a phone interview. It's too soon to name names, but he anticipates 15 to 25 dining options, most of them new to the area. He confirmed that one restaurant included in the community's wish list is the very popular Irvine-based burger chain.
Westlake Village resident Neil Ticktin, publisher and editor-in-chief of MacTech magazine, conducted an unscientific survey on his blog, Westlake Revelations, about what is most desired in the shopping center.
“There were a lot of people who wanted an In-N-Out Burger. It was by far the most requested thing, even with concerns about traffic,” Ticktin told us, adding that “people in Westlake Village are looking for a high-quality, high-value, 'fast food' option.”
It sounds like all those hungry residents have reason to be optimistic. Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out Burger's vice president of planning and development, said in an email that the company is enthusiastic about the new plaza: “However, it is still very early in the development process so we're still in the preliminary stages. We really hope to open a restaurant there but, at this point, it is pretty difficult to speculate on the timing and specifics of the project.”
Westlake Village planning director Scott Wolfe told the Weekly that it's up to the retail center's developer, Daniel Selleck of Selleck Development Group, to decide which restaurants request space; the city will then evaluate the applicants.
In May, Selleck told the Los Angeles Daily News: “We're trying to become kind of the community gathering place, so we'll have lots of outdoor and patio dining areas.”
In the case of In-N-Out, there is concern about the drive-thru feature. Wolfe said the chain “tends to generate a bit more traffic in their peak hours than a typical fast food restaurant. We want to make sure if they're going to come in here, that they're proposing a layout that will accommodate the traffic.”
Anecdotally, there have been complaints about the dearth of dining options in Westlake Village. “I've heard that from a number of different people,” said Wolfe. “We have had some restaurants that have opened and subsequently closed. There's varying opinions as to why that might be.”
One new eatery that appears to be thriving is Public School 805, located in The Promenade at Westlake.
Public School 805, which opened in June, has gotten a positive response, marketing director Karen Sabourin said in an email: “It has exceeded our expectations. The guests have welcomed us into the tight knit community with enthusiasm.”
The creation of L.A. restaurateur Bob Spivak (The Grill on the Alley, Daily Grill), PS805 has 126 seats and features craft beer and a seasonally-inspired menu by executive chef Phil Kastel, a Thousand Oaks resident. The gastropub, already in other parts of town will offer ongoing “Night School” classes, including Beer 101 and seasonal cocktail tastings.
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