Tag Archive for: echo park news

Beer connoisseur and restaurant owner Tony Yanow’s Echo Park venture, Mohawk Bend, started construction last year in the old Ramona Theater, and the restaurant is just about to open. Having remained vacant for about two decades, the 6,000 square foot, 1914 building has undergone quite a transformation – and we got a peak inside!

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A couple of weeks ago, a very friendly Paige Reilly (whose email signature casually claims her role in the scheme of things as the “Beer Champion” for Tony’s Darts Away) took me on a tour Mohawk Bend and gave me a full run-down of what’s going on behind those theater doors:

A non-smoking outdoor patio is the first space you’ll notice (where you would, for instance, buy your movie tickets when it was a theater). It will be treated almost like a lounge area with cocktailers.

The Quad is just past the hostess station, where two- and four-tops plus booths (totaling 48 seats) will occupy the space. It’s a seat yourself deal, and while you can order at the bar there will be cocktailers as well.

There’s this really cool concrete community table with high-top seating as you move into further down into the pub/bar area (they had to build it right there, it’s so bulky). Along the right side is the row of bar stools facing a total of 72 taps for beer and six taps for wines. With a focus on California/local brews, wines, and even spirits, they’ll also be making their own juices and even sodas.

Along the left side are also high-top seats, this section facing an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action. There’s the “Cadillac of pizza ovens” along with multiple stations – since they will be offering a variety of vegan dishes, they’ve actually duplicated stations so that vegan meals are prepared separately from meat dishes. That means they have two of each: cold tops, fryers, griddles and pizza stations.

The menu isn’t entirely vegan because they are really driving home that they have an “inclusive” menu – so that there’s something for everyone.

At the end of the building, broken up by an enormous wall of glass panels, is the sort-of “formal” dining area. It’s here you can really get a sense the old theater space – the expansive walls of exposed brick give off the original flavor, and they plan to have ivy or some sort of greenery to help make it feel more like an outdoor space. They also installed quite a few beautiful skylights and scaffolding to help that outdoor feel.There’s also a massive fireplace centering the far wall.

Back to what’s really important, more about the booze:

  • Of the 72 taps, 67 are California-only brews
  • 35 are permanent handles and 32 will rotate
  • Every month they will feature one out-of-state brewer, and will host a kick-off event with the brewer on hand
  • Six taps are wine kegs, and will rotate like the beers
  • The bar is fully stocked with 80 bottles spirits, and like the beer and wine will be local or California companies. Since tequila is from Mexico only, there will be California agave spirits (apparently bar manager Keith Taylor makes a mean margarita, and will be serving up other traditional and specialty cocktails)

Back when this whole project started, I was a little worried about big names like Spacecraft leading the design of the new restaurant, fearing it would turn into some over-exaggerated, Hollywood design that wouldn’t fit well with some of the more homey establishments in the community. But I’ve warmed up to Tony, the restaurant, and the concept as a whole (despite a few neighborhood objections when they moved in).

We are all anxiously awaiting the final touches to be made for the grand opening. Actually, the restaurant was supposed to open today, but as with any restaurant opening there are permit delays, final deliveries, and just some last minute details to be sorted. They now expect Mohawk Bend to open in early July, we’re crossing our fingers!


Eater LA reports the opening will be delayed even more to late July due to some problems with gas pipes or gas lines.

Last Sunday (June 19, 2011), area residents and bird-lovers met up bright and early at Echo Park Lake for the final bird count before the lake construction begins this summer. A total of 26 species were counted, all of which we’ve listed below.

Jenny Burman of the Chicken Corner noticed the number seemed a little low compared to last January’s count, which noted 42 species at Echo Park Lake. So she asked bird count leader Judy Raskin, why the large drop? Here’s her answer, from Jenny’s column:

Hi, Jenny. The number of species at any time will vary. For example, the winter migrations are over, mostly, except for the occasional bird here and there. Most of the birds at the lake now either are resident or find their food and shelter within a swath that includes the lake. I’m surprised by the number of Canada geese here now, but I bet they will move on within a few weeks, maybe to the river, maybe to another lake. Most of the wild mallards are gone, as are virtually all of the American coots — I noticed only two yesterday. On the other hand, there were loads of bushtits, a species that we didn’t see much of in recent years.

Now, if you’re not giggling at the word Bushtit – it’s not a typo but an actual bird species (thank you, Wikipedia) – this should answer that question about spring/summer migrations at Echo Park Lake.

Raskin is hoping to do a Christmas Bird Count in December or January, which is an annual tradition for not just Echo Park Lake bird-watchers but also the National Audubon Society. We’ll see how the construction goes!

Here’s the list of birds counted at the lake last Sunday:

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This is one of those times you just have to ask: What is wrong with people?

The World Naked Bike Ride (we wrote about the event last Friday) is a yearly event that promotes the use of bicycles as an alternative to cars. The naked part was meant to demonstrate “the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against car culture.”

Unfortunately, not everyone “got it.” A fight broke out on Saturday during the ride near the Echo Park/Silver Lake border along Sunset, during which a couple of men in a car in traffic got out of the car and started beating up two cyclists. The Eastsider LA has the scoop, sent to them by someone who was filming the cyclists when the fight suddenly broke out:


And from the witnesses themselves, via The Eastsider LA:

While driving down Sunset, we came upon on a nude bike ride that looked like a protest of some sort. People were having fun it seemed, we took a video to document the fun things that happen in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, some guys behind us in traffic, got out of their car to beat up the riders. I don’t know what provoked them to do such a thing. All I heard them yelling was “faggot” at the riders.  In the shaky video, its hard to see, but one of the guys picks up a bike and slams it into a rider.  It happened so quick, but we got the license plate info.

The cyclists were okay and declined medical attention, but the perpetrators won’t get off easily as the beating is being investigated as a hate crime because they yelled the “f-a-g” word.

Lt.Wes Buhrmester also provided a description of two male suspects:

The first suspect is described as a male, 20 years old, black hair, brown eyes, 5-8, 180 pounds, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. The second suspect is a male, late 20s, black “buzz cut” hair, dark complexion, 5-10, 200-250 pounds, wearing a blue shirt with blue jeans. If anyone has information, you can either call or e-mail me at the addresses below (confidentiality will apply, other than me referring your information to detectives), or call Rampart Detective Division at (213) 484-3450. Refer to DR No. 11-0212143. There are some leads upon which detectives are acting.

Let’s hope these guys get what they deserve!


Suspects were arrested on Wednesday, June 22, according to an article published by The Eastsider LA.

LA Weekly’s Web Awards were published yesterday – celebrating the best of Los Angeles’ Twitterers, Flickr pools, business websites, activists websites and everything in between. Echo Park’s own community website, The Eastsider LA, picked up an award for the Best Neighborhood Blog! Here’s what the LA Weekly had to say:

“The Eastsider LA” were the first words out of pretty much everyone’s mouth when we mentioned this category. Jesus Sanchez covers the northeast corner of Los Angeles like only someone born in Boyle Heights could. His take on news and events in Echo Park and beyond give one of the city’s most bustling areas a decidedly small-town feel.

Congratulations to Jesus, and the entire team!

According to The Eastsider LA, a man threatened suicide at the Citibank building on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park earlier this morning. Reports of fire trucks under Sunset bridge began around 8:30 am. More from The Eastsider LA:

Police units have converged on the Citibank office tower in Echo Park this morning and closed off nearby streets after a man reportedly threatened to commit suicide. Early reports from police and residents indicate the man is threatening to jump from a balcony on the property or the Sunset Boulevard bridge that crosses Glendale Boulevard.

*Update: The man has surrendered to a firefighter, said Lt. Wes Buhrmester with the Rampart Division. Authorities are now reopening streets that had been blocked off during the incident.

Glad everyone’s okay!

About a month ago, we return from the honeymoon to the real world – lots of laundry and an empty refrigerator. Now, you might be a fan of Lucy’s – tempting you with Starbucks and Subway sandwiches and all. But we have a different routine along Sunset Boulevard. Sandwiched between Stories Books and Out of the Closet is (rather, was) a reliable 24-hour place to do the laundry. Better yet, its proximity to some of our favorite bars and restaurants gave us the excuse to have dinner and a beer or two at Masa while the our delicates spun in the washer.

But this time we arrive to a shuttered laundromat, and seeing the vending machines had been removed and mail piling up near the front door, we had a feeling it was for the long run.

Now, a month later, the favorite laundromat is still closed and collecting dust. No word on why it closed or what’s going to happen with the empty space, and our routine will have to change a little bit.

It’s not that there aren’t enough laundromats in Echo Park, but we’ll miss the routine of grabbing a beer in between loads. Perhaps someone should take over the space and turn it into a combined bar and laundromat (Like the ones they have in San Fran?)? The hipsters would LOVE it.

Since the Dodgers are at this moment kicking the Mariners you-know-whats, it’s time for a Dodgers update.

Thursday, March 31, is D-Day – that is, Opening Day (and the 54th season in Los Angeles!). If you have lived around Echo Park long enough to know how completely insane Opening Day is, well you know how to avoid getting caught up in the traffic. Here’s the deal:

The past couple of years, Opening Day started in the early afternoon. This year, it starts at 5:00 pm. This could be either a good thing or a bad thing:

Good: Fans won’t be blasting music and starting the day off with a little buzz at 7:00 am in Elysian Park. (Trust me, you can hear it pretty early)

Bad: Fans will be blasting music and catching a little buzz starting at 10:00 am in Elysian Park.

Good: 50,000 people across Southern California won’t “mysteriously” call in sick on the same day, instead they’ll be able to take a half day to enjoy the game!

Bad: Traffic, traffic, traffic. Even the non-arteries to the stadium are jam-packed, so expect a bit of a parking lot outside your front door for a little while.

Good: The Dodgers are going to win their first game, and it’s against the Giants (returning from their, uh uhm, win in the world series last season)

There will be a pregame ceremony at 4:30 om, which will include displays on the field and a military flyover. All parking gates will open at 1:00 pm (much earlier than they usually open the gates to accommodate the crowds) and the stadium gates will open at 1:30 pm.

There will be some street closures on Thursday from 1:00 am – 11:00 pm for “staging purposes and game preparations.” Closures include:

  • Scott Avenue between Stadium Way and North Boylston Street
  • North Boylston between Academy and Stadium Way
  • Lilac Terrace between Stadium Way and Lookout to Stadium

And lastly, the Dodger Stadium Express is back! You can get transit service to and from Dodger Stadium using the Metro and the Metrolink trains. Transit from Union Station starts 45 minutes before the start of the game and will stop running one hour after the last out.

That’s it for now – since we have to work all day Thursday, we won’t be planning on getting home until after all the traffic has gone through. Good luck out there! See you at the games.

Twitpic by RosalineMae

You may have read that Echo Park’s famous goose Maria (made famous by an OK Go music video, then a Facebook page, then the brilliant snowball effect that comes with celebrity life in Los Angeles) was moved to the Los Angeles Zoo in preparation for the upcoming Echo Park Lake rehab project this summer. Well, as it turns out, Maria is actually a boy! The Zoo learned of the official gender while doing a checkup after the gander arrived. Dominic Ehrler told the LA Times, “He’s Mario now. But I’ll call him Maria if he doesn’t respond to Mario.”

In case you’re wondering, Dominic will be able to visit Mario/Maria.



Street Art Pop-Up Store opened last Friday, March 4 at 1461 1/2 W. Sunset Blvd. (formerly Warwick Vintage Store). The temporary art space will be featuring new artwork daily from a variety of artists, including Bigfoot, Robots Will Kill, Evil Design, Shepard Fairey, and more.

The temp shop is open daily from noon to 7:00 pm. Check out the video about from LA Taco.


We found out on Tuesday this week that Writer Brando Skyhorse’s “The Madonnas of Echo Park” won the Hemingway/PEN Award for first fiction.

Congrats to Brando Skyhorse! And yes, the book is still on my New Years Resolutions to-do list, but I’ll be stopping by the library fairly soon to grab a copy.

New stuff:

Yogala Echo Park is located next to Peter Shire's studio

Yogala Echo Park is scheduled to open this month (March) at 1840 Echo Park Avenue, right by Peter Shire’s studio. They’ve got a full schedule throughout the week with a lot of different types of Yoga classes, including Baby Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, morning Yoga, and even some Pilates classes. Prices start at $12 per class, with discounts if you purchase a series or class cards. Click here for their website.

Echo Park resident Jennifer Dunlay recently started a pet-care business for when you go out of town and want to keep your best buddies at home. Artemis Pet Service will visit, play with your kitties, walk your dog in Elysian Park, and even offers overnight stays. She is fully insured, will provide references, and is Red Cross Certified. Bonus: it looks like she’s affordable! While she is based in Echo Park, she also serves surrounding neighborhoods. Click here to learn more from her website.

Juan Frias, also an Echo Park resident, opened up SuperPop Graphics earlier this year under the Sunset Blvd. bridge at 1176 Glendale Blvd. As a fellow graphic designer, he designs business cards, banners, brochures, logos, vehicle and wall graphics; and any other graphic services. The store itself contains a small retail section that has clothing with designs by Juan Frias for sale, including vinyl stickers and t-shirts. He is also able to do custom made t-shirts for men, women, children, and even babies. The store is currently operated by appointments and walk-ins are welcome as well.

Ongoing/Weekly Specials

On the weekend of February 12, crews tore up and repaved a huge section of Sunset Blvd. (The Eastsider LA had the story here) from the East side of Echo Park to about Figueroa Street. The construction closed the main street entirely in Echo Park, and caused a lot of confusion for residents trying to get around town with little warning. To top it off, parking and street closures were in effect for that weekend’s Chinatown Firecracker run in the area.

Now we are 2 1/2 weeks after the repaving project, and the newly paved section of Sunset Blvd. remains without, well, road lines. The kind of lines that, you know, tell you what side of the road to drive on, and separates out the two – three lanes in each direction. Driving on Sunset Blvd. at night is a free-for-all, a little scary, and very confusing (and certainly not as fun as that Seinfeld episode where Kramer painted over the lines to make a wider road).

I contacted Richard Reyes, the Field Deputy for Council District 1, to get an answer about when we can expect the project to finish up. He assured me they were on it: “I’ve expressed adamantly the urgency to get these lines done. They are doing everything they can to get a plan to their crew as soon as possible.”

I know the city’s broke, but maybe a little more careful planning on the part of whatever city agency is involved could have helped?


Reyes confirmed the street painting will be completed within 7-10 days.

On January 27, community members, teachers and parents came out to vote on the future of CRES #14, and the votes have been tallied. The League of Women Voters reports the majority of voters chose the Echo Park Community Design Team Partners over Camino Nuevo (see graph above). This information comes ahead of the school board’s decision regarding CRES14 on Monday, March 15, 2011 (note: the date was previously pushed back from February to after the March 8 elections).

Also, according to an email from local resident Windy O’Malley via the Echo Park Improvement Association, a representative from the LAUSD told them in a meeting a couple of weeks ago that 232 middle school seats would be set aside for the “zone of choice (including all of the Greater Echo Park Area). Any school that inhabits the site will have to comply,” she writes. That’s good news for those community members fighting for a place for Echo Park students in the future school, considering it was built in Echo Park where our neighbor’s homes once existed.

The Echo Park Community Partners Plan design team and The Echo Park Parents for Community and Education are hosting a free “pizza party” today at Pizza Buona in Echo Park. Everyone is invited to attend, have some pizza, and learn more! Click here for the organization’s website and on how to get involved.

Learn more at today’s meeting, Monday, February 28, from 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm at Pizza Buona, located at 2100 W. Sunset Blvd.

Driving on Glendale Blvd. and Berkeley Avenue today, I noticed a crew taking down the flower shop/cigarette shack/bike repair/party rental kiosk thing in the parking lot. It’s a bit of a strange little building and has undergone quite a few… evolutions over the years. Word has it, there’s a 7-11 moving in the shopping center (which will be discussed at the next Echo Park Improvement Association meeting on March 3). Perhaps they are making room to accommodate more parking needs for the chain.

Twitpic by kindkreme

Raw-vegan restaurant Mooi may have closed down in January, but that hasn’t stopped a couple of its former investors to open up a new vegan stop in the same location.

The owners of Millie’s are teaming up with vegan ice cream company KindKreme to open a combo restaurant, Sage Vegan Organic Bistro and KindKreme desserts, in the former Mooi space on Sunset Blvd. and and Logan. While they are technically two different businesses, you won’t have to worry about paying for your dessert on a separate check.

Some new things to expect at the new vegan spot: Raw options are available, but the menu will be also include cooked items, including “vegan comfort food,” as described by Mollie Angelheart of KindKreme. She lists some of the menu items for the Bistro, whose chef once worked at Flore, as “really delicious stuff, really unique food.” Hearing about items from the menu will make any non-vegan hungry: Hearty, delicious items like chili, polenta, portabello mango sloppy Joe sandwiches, falafel, artichoke tarts, mac n’ cheese, salads, and other seasonal food. You can also keep an eye out for Farmers’ Market specials on Fridays.

As for KindKreme, they’ll be tantalizing you with raw cakes and cheesecakes, fudge pies, pudding pies, gluten free cookies from Baby Cakes LA, and even waffles (think turning a vegan waffle into a made-to-order sundae or ice cream sandwich). The only thing she thinks might technically not be vegan in the shop is that they provide honey for your tea – a product Mollie feels particular about as the daughter of an upstate New York bee keeper.

The KindKreme counter will also serve up Groundworks coffee, including cold pressed coffee with house made nutmilk (almond and cocount made at their Pasadena location), fresh juices, espresso, and tea.

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro and KindKreme will be open 11:00 am – 10:00 pm weekdays, open until 11:00 pm on Fridays, and will be offering brunch on the weekends from 9:00 am until 10 or 11:00 pm.

The location could be open as early as this weekend or next week! Like the photo above, they’ve been posting photos of their progress with the renovations on the KindKreme Twitter page. We’ll also keep you posted for their grand opening event once the details are finalized.

And, in case you’re wondering, you can enter the restaurant from the main doors on the corner.

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro / KindKreme is located at 1700 West Sunset Blvd. here in Echo Park.

At around 7:30 pm last night (Monday, February 21, 2011), a teenage boy was shot and killed in a possibly gang-related incident at North Benton Way and West Temple Street, reports various media outlets. The shooting occurred in front of the old LAPD Rampart Division headquarters.

Echo Park Patch reports the suspects fled in a black Toyota Camry. The suspects are still at large as of this morning.

If you have any information that will help this investigation, call the Rampart Division at 213-484-3400.

Betty Plasencia Elementary School was on lockdown Monday morning after reports of an armed man on campus. Turns out, there was no reason for alarm. Echo Park Patch.

A shut-down of Sunset Boulevard for paving in Echo Park was a huge pain in the you-know-what for those of us living on the detour routes. The Eastsider LA has the info and photos.

Maria the Goose is getting a lot of news coverage as we get closer to the start of the Echo Park Lake Rehab Project. We caught a glimpse of her favorite human, Dominic, over the weekend at Masa. Among many articles, the Wall Street Journal has a story, as well as the LA Times.

There’s a new pop-up shop opening in Echo Park called Street Art Pop Up. Apparently the exact location is super secret, but plans are to open March 4.