One of the great comebacks in the making is at Vroman’s Bookstore on Colorado, which opened a wine bar six weeks before the pandemic shutdown. The 1894 is slowly coming back to life as a book and oenophile’s dream happy hour spot, surrounded by classics to read and imbibe. It offers charcuterie and small bites to pair with craft beer, vino, and literary-themed cocktails. It has plans to offer food to-go and, thanks to a new license, can sell bottles to-go, perfect for a fall picnic. Other expansions include a parklet in cooperation with Playhouse Village.
Originally from the O.C. and Arcadia, fast-casual Noodle St. has opened in Old Pasadena with a sleekly designed space and open kitchen, where you can watch all the action. Feast on Sichuan-style pulled noodles, pan-fried shrimp and pork dumplings, kimchee fried rice, or crispy tofu.
Lucky Bird Fried Chicken has expanded from Grand Central Market to a large space in Eagle Rock on Colorado. Chef Chris Dane (Providence, Connie & Ted’s) whips up cornbread, mac-n-cheese, and sandwich platters or buckets for groups or parties to devour on the picnic tables out front.
Keeping the party going, the team from now-closed Block Party has opened a new vegan sports bar in Highland Park. Put Me in Coach brings several patios and televisions for watching games to York Blvd.
In Silver Lake, a nod to the Aegean Sea can be found at Greekman’s, which has popped up on a front patio of the deli-inspired comfort spot Freedman’s now a bar with brisket sandwich snacks. Down the street, the old Cliff’s Edge space on Sunset Blvd., one of the top patios for a romantic meal or long brunch with cocktails, is breathing new life thanks to the expanding Bacari brand. The Shrimp Ceviche, Lamb Stuffed Eggplant, Oaxacan Pasta, and Sea Bass with grilled lemon are solid small-plate options.
Nan Yimcharoen made stunning bento boxes and chirashi bowls in her home during the pandemic and has now expanded with her first brick and mortar, KinKan, in Virgil Village near Courage Bagels.
In other preservation news, the iconic midcentury 101 Coffee Shop is back open as Clark Street Diner, courtesy of the bread company that started in Echo Park. And the owners of Pasadena favorite Pitfire Pizza have taken over the old Hearth & Hound, Cat & Fiddle space on Sunset for an outpost of their beloved Superba Food + Bread from Venice.
If you have been missing chef Lincoln Carson since Bon Temps in the Arts District closed, and he opened Coast Range in Solvang (as reported in our May/June issue “North by Northeast”), the chef is back in town with the opening of Mes Amis at the Thompson Hotel in Hollywood, which draws inspiration from the bustling cafés and brasseries from Paris to Lyon.
Matteo Street in the Arts District is seeing serious action with James Beard Award–winning Stephanie Izard opening Girl & the Goat from Chicago. The garden atmosphere and central bar are perfect for day-drinking cocktails and food hits include the goat pâté with British-style crumpets, lamb skewers, salmon poke, and grilled street corn.