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Off Vine 2.0 Prepares For Debut

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Richard Falzone has owned Off Vine since 2007, but the place has been around for a full 20 years, since 1989. In 1997, Falzone started as a waiter, a year later he was promoted to manager, and two years later became the general manager. Now he, along with chef Tony Hernandez and Greg Federly, own and operate Off Vine. When the place all but burned down in 2008, the process of renovation took some significant turns. Not only did they have to repair the damage, but because the restaurant was built into a former craftsman-style single-family residence, the city required a number of other permits and such before the place could reopen as the neighborhood hang-out it once was.

Handicap access was a major issue, which has been resolved with a 40-seat lower dining room accessible not only by stairs but by a slightly sloping ramp. There are three separate restrooms in addition to a staff restroom. Off Vine is still the "little yellow house" as it's been known, but inside, the colors have been updated and structural changes - the sloping roof was lifted to add space to the large upstairs dining area - were all made with the guidance of a handbook on craftsman style houses. "We wanted to be true to the design of the house," says Falzone. All of this attention to detail and the hands-on attitude of the owners made an impression on former clientele as well as former staff. "90% of our former staff are returning to work with us again, I love being able to tell people that," brags Falzone. And another thing: renovation costs money, and in this economy, raising money is no easy task. Nevertheless, when Richard and company asked their former regulars if anyone could donate some cash, hundreds of supporters chipped in to raise about $100,000, which certainly took a load off of the bank loans. Chef Hernandez plans to keep the menu as it was, an homage to comfort food where diners can order meat and potatoes or pasta and not pay an arm and a leg. As for an opening, Falzone said "We hoped to be open by Thanksgiving, then it was Christmas, then New Year's. Now, I'm telling people that we're working tirelessly to open our doors as soon as possible. I'm aiming for mid-January." By the looks of things, a decorative trellis going up here, a crucial kitchen inspection happening there, Off Vine may just be open in a Hollywood minute.
·EaterWire: Off Vine Reopening [~ELA~]
·Off Vine Fire: Severe Damage, Owners Will Reopen [~ELA~]
— Daniela Galarza

Off Vine

6263 Leland Way, Los Angeles, CA, 90028

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