Thursday, June 21, 2012

Good News, Elf Cafe is Expanding

Five years ago, Elf Café opened its doors to Echo Park vegetarians and vegans seeking gourmet Mediterranean themed cuisine. Until a couple of years ago the small, 700 square foot restaurant on Sunset Boulevard barely had a kitchen; they were using hot plates and convection ovens to churn out plates just a few nights a week, but still managing to convince even the heartiest of meat-eaters that vegetarian food can be good – like, really good.

Owner and chef Scott Zwiezen has been planning for over two years now to expand and “evolve” the restaurant into the adjacent space, plans which are now finally in motion. In the summer of 2012, the hot plates were replaced by a real kitchen that currently serves 20 seats. The expansion will add 448 square feet to the restaurant, including an additional bathroom, office and storage space, and eight more seats for the restaurant.

On top of taking over the empty “Branche Boutique” space next door, Elf Café has applied for a beer and wine license. Aware of the concentration of alcohol licenses in the area, Zwiezen has been doing outreach in the immediate radius since January. They told the Neighborhood Issues Committee of the Echo Park Improvement Association last night that the majority of the input has been favorable.

They’ve also got some neighborhood interest in new free cooking classes starting July 17, which will focus on introducing vegetarian cooking to Spanish-language speakers on Tuesday nights when the restaurant is closed.

And it’s a good time for the restaurant to start expanding its services – food critic Jonathan Gold lists Elf Café as one of his favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, recently recommending the restaurant for vegans and vegetarians in an online chat for the LA Times.

Currently, Elf is open just Wednesday through Sunday from 5:00 pm to about 1:00 am, but they will expand those hours under the beer and wine license. They are currently asking for 7:00 am – 2:00 am so that they have some flexibility should they want to start offering brunch and lunch service (which neighbor Mohawk Bend also offers). It’s unclear whether or not the expansion will now require them to provide a certain number of parking spaces.

A public hearing on the beer and wine license is expected to be in August this year, construction will start that same month but the restaurant should only be closed for a few days.

Elf Café is located at 2135 W Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Elf Cafe Website
Article from by Kelly

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Echo Park Lake Rehab - Almost a year in

So, we are rapidly approaching a year of reconstruction, with another one yet to go. While they have been working daily, it still doesn't look like much.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How much is that Echo Park apartment? Maybe it’s best not to ask

Apartment investor and blogger Moses Kagan has taken another snapshot of apartment rents, this time focusing on Echo Park rentals north of the 101 Freeway. Anyone now looking for a one-bedroom in this area will find a limited supply and higher rents compared to earlier this year, said Kagan after a survey of  Craigslist ads for Echo Park apartments during the month of May. The median asking rent for a one-bedroom was $1,450 – a 26% increase since February. Rents on two-bedrooms were down from February but the median asking rent was still $1,995. If you could squeeze into a studio, the asking median rent was $1,043.
A check on Craiglist on May 25 found only 24 Echo Park apartments north of the freeway, Kagan said. Perhaps it’s time for tenants in search of lower rents to spend more time looking for places south of the 101.