With the change of seasons comes new restaurants—but it also means the passing of many others. There are a lot of reasons for a restaurant to throw in the proverbial towel: anything from a bad concept to a lukewarm welcome, chef shuffles, landlord and leasing issues, redevelopment, or simply running its course. Now, as we look to the new openings on the fall horizon, we bid farewell to those places that closed over the Summer. Cue the in memoriam music now…
After chef Evan Funke’s abrupt departure from Culver City’s pasta haven, it’s no real surprise that Bucato closed after a little more than a year open. Having his hands literally in every rolled piece of tortellini, casonsei, and strozzapreti, the restaurant lost steam.
The glitz and glam of Hakkasan landing in Beverly Hills faded quickly, as well. The restaurant, from the group of the same name, took its $250 Peking duck and fancy dim sum and left the neighborhood.
Big chains aren’t immune to a fickle L.A. dining community either. The Starbucks-backed La Boulange closed its massive bakery and cafe on La Brea Avenue—as well as all locations in San Francisco—after only a year in business. Having Republique’s all-day bakery and cafe, La Brea Bakery’s reboot, and Quinn and Karen Hatfield’s super popular Sycamore Kitchen all within a croissant’s throw away probably didn’t help much. Capital Grille, the steakhouse-ish chain that took over the old Hard Rock space at Beverly Center, also called it quits.
Two relative newcomers to the Brentwood scene had a hard time fitting in, as well. Adoteca, the upscale Italian spot from the Ado restaurant group, closed only last week, according to sources. And Hans Rockenwagner’s stylish Cafe Rockenwagner shuttered earlier this summer.
THE OLD TIMERS
It’s always difficult to see the long-lifers finally throw in the towel, but it’s bound to happen, even to the best. Glendale’s Billy’s Deli served its last corned beef on rye after 67 years. Soul-food staple Flossie’s is no longer deep-frying those chickens in Redondo Beach after almost 25 years. Alegria on Sunset, Silver Lake’s Mexican comfort food stalwart, shuttered after 22 years. Since 1978, the dusty Beckham Grill watched Old Town Pasadena grow up around it, but stopped slicing its prime rib in June. And owner of Sherman Oaks’ institution Cafe Stanley’s decided to call it quits after more than 30 years.
Sometimes a shutter is really just a matter of reconceptualizing. Chef Eric Park closed his popular Black Hogg restaurant in Silver Lake to focus on the Soppressata sandwiches he’s served during the day, but also adding Ohana Poke Co. It’s the second location for Park’s poke restaurant. He flipped his downtown Hero Shop and opened the first Ohana there. Poke is on the rise!
Beer Belly owners Jimmy and Yume Han shuttered Whiz, a super cheesesteak spot they opened around the corner from their Koreatown gastropub. They’ve since added lunch weekday lunch hours at Beer Belly with some new menu items from chef Wes Lieberher.
And while chef Phillip Frankland Lee was focusing on his vegan Gadarene Swine in the Valley, his original Beverly Hills baby, Scratch | Bar hit a few snags. Lee announced that he closed the restaurant with the intention of relocating to the Valley, but the his partner has kept the name and concept, which is all sorts of confusing. Look for Lee’s version to open sometime this fall.
Piccolo Venice, the longstanding charming Venice spot for regional Italian cuisine near the boardwalk, is now closed. Perhaps it is a split between chef Bobo Ivan and the Piccolo group because they also closed one of the two Hostaria del Piccolo locations (only the Santa Monica one remains), and Piccolo Venice has quietly transformed into Bobo, named for the chef.
If any of these spots were your regular go-to, say sayonara: Perhaps its the raising rents and high-profile Venice scene, but sadly the favorite Abbot Kinney wine bar, Primitivo, closed after 10 years. Rumor is the owners will partner with another longstanding neighborhood favorite, Hal’s, to regroup in a new location. And the Market on Holly in Pasadena, which was a gleaming hope of good things to come for the over-chaining of Old Town, has papered up its windows.