Culver City’s Dining Scene Is About to Explode. Again.
Big names and exciting concepts are driving the city’s second culinary wave
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Ten years ago, Downtown Culver City was primarily known as the place where they filmed Jeopardy!. That all changed when redevelopment money came in, and Downtown Culver City (plus the Culver City Arts District that sprouted eastward on Washington Boulevard) started to attract a very different type of crowd—instead of heading over to Culver to buy a car, people started coming just to try some of the new chef-driven restaurants.
In 2006, chef Ben Ford opened Ford’s Filling Station while veteran itamae Keizo Ishiba launched his modern sushi bar K-Zo. A couple of years later, Akasha Richmond, formerly Michael Jackson’s personal chef, opened her namesake restaurant (her second, an Indian-inspired concept is about to open nearby) while Sang Yoon debuted the second iteration of his ultra-popular gastropub Father’s Office in the remodeled Helm’s Bakery complex. From a culinary perspective, Culver City was coming alive and the people of Los Angeles were taking notice.
Flash forward a decade and a trip to Culver City for dinner elicits envy instead of skepticism. Now home to over 30 restaurants, the Downtown Culver dining scene has become one of the city’s biggest draws, but it’s the next wave of development that’s poised to have the fooderati salivating.
“The key to this area is transit,” says Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells as she crosses the corner of Washington and National, where two enormous new structures loom half-finished.
The transit she’s referring to came to Culver City in a major way in the summer of 2013, when the Expo Line connected the city to downtown Los Angeles via Metro train.
Now, a new level of excitement is sprouting up in the Arts District around the station. Those two buildings being constructed are set to house some of the most exciting culinary carpetbaggers L.A. has ever seen. Famed New York chef Michael White and his AltaMarea Group committed to opening their first West Coast restaurant at The Platform development nearly two years ago. Joining White are a rogue’s gallery of high-end culinarians: San Francisco patisserie Craftsman & Wolves, Blue Bottle coffee, New York’s butcher/restaurant The Cannibal, and a throwback diner called Thoroughbred from Bucato chef Evan Funke are just a few of the announced tenants. By the projected opening in August, The Platform should be L.A.’s most exciting new dining destination.
Across National Boulevard, at the 350,000 sq. ft. Access Culver City, a retail/residential building is going up that will be home to a new grocery store and two spots for restaurants to add to the gastronomic boom in the Arts District. With the continued success of the Helm’s Bakery complex (Father’s Office, Lukshon, Bucato), independent Arts District tenants like Coolhaus and Bar & Garden, and these new developments, the excitement of downtown Culver’s dining scene is clearly spreading east. The first wave of Culver City’s dining explosion changed the way people thought about the city, but this new phase of expansion promises to be downright stunning.
As an added bonus, they still shoot Jeopardy! down there, too. We’ll take Culver City’s Second Wave of Dining for $2,000, Alex.