28 places Westsiders loved and lost in the past 5 years
By Joe Piasecki
Change is a constant in Greater Los Angeles. You aren’t really a local until somewhere you love becomes something completely different or just disappears. But as Westside real estate prices jumped from expensive to exorbitant, local history’s days were numbered.
Louie’s of Mar Vista: This neighborhood hangout abandoned its Cajun-inspired menu for high-end pub food in September before promptly closing earlier this month, its owner blaming the Venice Boulevard road diet for a drop in sales.
Abbot’s Habit: Abbot Kinney Boulevard lost a part of its soul in June when high rents forced this welcome-all-comers coffee shop to shut down after 24 years.
Venice Beach Freakshow: All the tourists on the boardwalk couldn’t save this family business from getting the boot in April to make way for more creative office space.
Vidiots: A treasure trove of some 50,000 titles (including many you won’t find on the streaming services that eroded its viability), Santa Monica’s last video store rolled credits in February after 30 years on Pico Boulevard.
Danny’s Venice: This restaurant showcasing Venice history became a relic in Novem-ber 2016 due to increasing business costs.
Border Grill: Pioneering celebrity chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken let their lease expire in October 2016 after 26 years in Santa Monica.
Panini Grill: This casual Marina Marketplace eatery flew under the L.A. culinary radar for years, but locals appreciated its friendly service and healthy Italian fare until the summer of 2016.
Café 50’s: History felt real at this popular Lincoln Boulevard diner, which closed after a fire in June 2016.
Real Food Daily: The standard-bearer of vegan dining in Santa Monica for 24 years closed in April 2016 amid a rent dispute.
La Fiesta Brava: This family-run restaurant served locals for 23 years before rising rents forced it to move off Rose Avenue in late 2015. Around the same time, the once bohemian Rose Café reopened as a more upscale concept.
Nikki’s: The neighborhood sports bar on Market Street was among many Venice businesses that closed in mid-2015 to make way for Snapchat expansion. The same thing later happened to Tlapazola Grill.
The WitZend: This inspired anchor of the Westside music scene closed abruptly in May 2015, preceded by the demise of The Talking Stick and The Good Hurt.
Santa Monica Museum of Art: A rent increase amid a spat over Bergamot Station redevelopment sent the museum packing for downtown L.A.’s Arts District in April 2015.
Culver City Ice Arena: This classic American ice-skating rink gave rise to Olympic stars and countless childhood memories over 52 years, but was unable to renew its lease after the rent reportedly doubled in 2014.
Pepy’s Galley: Despite rallies and petitions to save it, the humble diner inside Mar Vista Lanes for 44 years got the boot in June 2014 to make way for bowling alley upgrades. In Westchester, KJ’s Diner & Restaurant met the same fate in 2015 when El Dorado Lanes became Bowlero.
Just Tantau: Carol Tantau opened her funky boutique eight years before Abbot Kinney Boulevard got its name. Its early 2014 departure due to rising rents (on the heels of Jin Patisserie) was a sign of more gentrification-related goodbyes to come, including the original Hal’s Bar & Grill in April 2015 and Joe’s Restaurant in February 2016.
The Ocean Park Omelette Parlour: The beloved family diner on Main Street cracked its first egg in 1977 and its last in December 2013, citing a “drastic” rent increase.
Outlaws Bar & Grille: A Culver Boulevard landmark since 1984, its November 2013 closure for indeterminate redevelopment continues to leave a hole in the commercial heart of Playa del Rey.
The Buggy Whip: La Tijera Boulevard’s 1950s steakhouse with a full-time piano man closed abruptly in October 2013, the lot now slated for new apartments.
The Ships Store: This homey staple of the Marina del Rey boating community survived 40 years until redevelopment spelled its doom in April 2013.
Old Venice Post Office: The 1939 Windward Circle landmark sold to film producer Joel Silver in 2012 (and with it, a 50-year lease on its “Story of Venice” mural). Stalled redevelopment financing has left the place a construction site ever since.
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