Tag Archive for: new restaurants

Pizza lovers rejoice! We’ve got a new pizza place joining the ranks of new Echo Park restaurants – this time, however, on the other side of Sunset Boulevard.

Taking over an empty storefront in the same mini-mall as Beauty Box, Sunset Beer, and the computer repair shop, the new restaurant promises to fill in a pizza gap for those of us on the other side of the neighborhood.

We’re taking precautions announcing the people and the name behind the new place for now – the last we heard they were in the process of ending their lease at the current location, so we’ll refrain for the time being (we certainly don’t want to get anyone in trouble!). But let’s just say the menu will delight both hipsters and non-hipsters alike – vegan options, and even a pupusa-style pizza that we’ve heard is amazing.

And what great timing – how awesome would it be to grab a couple of slices to enjoy next door at Sunset Beer with a seasonal microbrew?

The Park’s Finest has been in Echo Park for some time now, but as a mobile catering company. Owner Johneric Concordio grew up here, BBQing his way through the more turbulent times of Echo Park in the ’80s and ’90s. Now, the BBQ (with a Filipino twist) company is looking to establish itself in a physical location in what was formerly “The Far East” Japanese restaurant at 1267 West Temple Street.

Johneric has already started to demo (that space SOOO needs some love), but they’ve got a long way to go before opening hopefully in November. And they are looking toward the community to help them with the project – through a website called Indie GoGo, they are hoping to raise money for the kitchen remodel and equipment, furniture, city fees, signage and more. And to encourage you to donate, they offer a few perks from t-shirts to BBQ sauce and more for every extra bit you donate.

He’s hoping it will be more than a restaurant. According to the Pleasure Palate blog, “Johneric wants this restaurant to be a center for community, culture, art and of course, for fabulous food. By the way, when it comes to the food, it may be more than just BBQ, Johneric has talked about introducing more rustic Filipino dishes that aren’t normally found in stateside Filipino restaurants and believe me, that has definitely piqued my interest.”

Why should you donate? Their Indie GoGo page explains:

…The Park’s Finest, a mobile catering company based in Echo Park, has brought a distinct flavor to the LA food scene with our Filipino take on traditional American cuts of BBQ. We have blessed backyard boogies and community events all over the Southland, and have steadily gained popularity. To meet the rise in demand, as a community-oriented company, we aim to reinvigorate the blighted district of Historic Filipinotown in Echo Park. Our community fundraising campaign will build capital for a restaurant that offers a fulfilling dining experience, for families and friends to enjoy savory BBQ in an atmosphere where musicians and artists can showcase works that reflect and celebrate the intersections of the dynamic cultures and histories bridged by this vibrant area of LA.

We certainly wouldn’t mind some tasty BBQ action in the neighborhood, so we wish The Park’s Finest the best of luck!

Click here to donate to The Parks Finest, and check out the video below:

Related links:

  • Please Support Parks Finest BBQ – PS-they make the best Filipino inspired BBQ in town! Pleasure Palate, July 31, 2011.
  • Storefront Report: Filipino BBQ to replace Japanese diner in Echo Park. The Eastsider LA, August 4, 2011

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!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

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.

New restaurants:

  • Vietnamese Restaurant is taking over what used to be Par Paint on Sunset and Lemoyne.
  • Mooi Raw Vegan restaurant: We haven’t forgotten about this space, and have contacted the restaurant to find out when their opening might be. We will keep you posted!
  • As reported earlier this year, a Little Caesars is taking over the old Pioneer Chicken on Echo Park Blvd. Looks like things are finally coming along as they hung a vinyl banner out front and are putting up display menus inside.

Ongoing/Weekly Restaurant Specials

Other new news

  • PETA West Coast Headquarters (thanks to Bob Barker) on Sunset between Alvarado and Mohawk
  • Echo Park Country Outpost launches online store.
  • El Prado bar is now open early on the weekends, starting at 2:30 pm
  • Bus service between Union Station and Dodger Stadium is back for 83 games this year

Closed 🙁

  • Sirens and Sailors closed their storefront, but their online store is still open.