We might poke fun at how many of Pasadena's restaurants should be on the Deathwatch (and are), but wandering through Old Town we noticed a lot of activity, especially on DeLacey Street, sometimes known as a black hole for restaurants. The best way to handle it is one fell swoop. On to the Plywood!
1) Spitfire Saloon: This is the working name for a new Smith Brothers venture, the owners of Pasadena's Smitty's Grill, Arroyo Chophouse, Parkway Grill and Crocodile Cafe. The location: DeLacey's Club 41 (Delacey Street between Colorado and Green). Hard details are still under wraps, but there will be a major renovation, American cuisine, some barbecue items, and a summer debut. [PLYWOOD]
2) Dena House: Directly across from Spitfire is the Dena House, an American-steakhouse-sushi restaurant opening in what was last Union Cattle Co. The owners also have the Hill Street Café in La Canada and promise the bull will be gone, but the brewery stays. For the record, nothing has lasted in that space for too long (Pasadena Brewing Company, Jerry's Deli, etc.), so we'll see how this goes. [PLYWOOD]
3) Bird Pick: Across the alley from Dena House, same side of street, is this tea house from the same people who founded Wing Hop Fung, a small herbal shop in Chinatown. According to the website, the original shop has 20,000-square-feet of teas, herbs, ginseng, Asian imports and wines, and another opened in Monterey Park in 2005. WHF has its own tea estates in Guangzhou, Zhejian, and Fujian China, including an organic tea garden that produces their own brand of teas. From what we gather, this is the first Bird Pick concept store; we saw a counter and shelves, probably for in-house sipping and retail. This makes the third tea shop in a less-than-one-mile radius of Old Town (Chado, Scarlet Tea Room are nearby). [PLYWOOD]
4) Pop Champagne Bar: It's been months since we've seen any movement or signage for Pop Champagne Bar on Union Street (next to Container Store). But the windows are plastered with signage, paint fumes are making their way to the sidewalk, so progress is afoot. From our last conversation with the owners, more than 300 Champagnes and dessert wines, plus artisanal beers and desserts from a Ritz-Carlton-trained pastry chef. [PLYWOOD]
5) Former La Huesteca: Remember when the very short-lived La Huesteca closed, supposedly because a new complex was to be built on that corner? Well, we spotted a "for lease" sign on the side of the building, called, and found out the restaurant space is again for lease. When we asked if it was going to be torn down sometime in the future for the new development, the guy said the restaurant space wasn't going to be touched. So why did La Huesteca leave again? [PRE-PLYWOOD]
6) Yogen Fruz: Remember, they want to have 1,000 stores in the U.S. in the next 10 years. Yogen Fruz will open in the most wholesome strip of Colorado Boulevard in Old Town: Right next to Hooters, near the pawn shop and nudie lingerie store. Brilliant. [PLYWOOD]
7) Oba Sushi Izakaya: Not Old Town, but the previous long-time manager of Sushi of Naples is opening a sushi and izakaya in the old Ohana/Komeyoshi space on the corner of Marengo and Glenarm. Along with the pics, we're told that it's only a partial makeover but a lot cleaner, more spacious. No opening ETA yet, but must be soon. [PLYWOOD]