We posted a mention last April that the old Echo Park Ramona Theater would become a wood-fired pizza and beer restaurant called El Camino. Originally slated to open around Thanksgiving this year, construction just recently started up on the new space and it’s looking like a grand opening will be pushed back.
Here’s a little back story about the Ramona Theater: It opened in Echo Park in the year 1914 as the Garden Theatre. Its name changed a few times (those names somewhat of a mystery, of which Echo Park has many), until 1966 when it became Studio 1 showing German-Language films. It was completely closed down in the 1990s, the front awning giving shelter to many homeless for many years.
Now, who knows what’s going on behind those Spacecraft walls, I can only speculate and summon up some pretty over-imaginative ideas: Perhaps they maintained some kind of stage area where the movie screen was to make it our own Echo Park dinner theater!
Alas, a big wall was put up during construction in the late 1990s led by a member of the Lolito family, which owned the building for about 75 years according to the Echo Park Historical Society. They also leveled the theater floor and removed the theater seats.
So probably no dinner theater, movie theater, or any other type of theater for now, but we do know one thing for sure: Alcohol! Owner Tony Yanow, who also own Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, just recently applied for a liquor license that includes beer, wine and “distilled spirits” and is currently pending. All I can say is, if the the beer list is as decent as the Darts Away list, you might find me there with a Belgian-style beer in hand (I’ve read that there could be as many as 75 beers on tap at the new location).
However, I am a little wary of big names like Spacecraft and big ideas moving into Echo Park. While I really do welcome the activity at the old theater because it really, really needs it, if the restaurant ends up being an over-priced, chichi Hollywood-type establishment, I’d rather cuddle up with the friendly faces at Masa, The Park and El Compadre.
More worrisome is the lack of parking in the area. We are waiting to hear back from the owner to find out how they are going to deal with that issue, as the neighbors are less than thrilled. Already having to compete with clubs down the street, a lot of housing with not a lot of parking spots, and a big development being planned just down the road, nearby residents might just have to start digging their own driveways just to park near their homes.
Stay tuned – we will provide more info as soon as we know!
The old Ramona Theater is located at 2139 W. Sunset Blvd.