Venice’s unstoppable growth from sketchy beach community to surfside haven for the rich and famous has made it a target for some who claim the neighborhood is losing all it’s charm — and most of its mom-and-pop shops.
By way of example here’s La Fiesta Brava on Rose Avenue, which for 20 years has been pushing out simple plates of daily Mexican fare, from $1.50 tacos to burritos, nachos, and enchiladas. Now, says NBC LA, the restaurant is being forced out to make way for a brand new restaurant development.
The struggle to protect various spaces in Venice has been well-documented, from Gjusta’s ongoing wrangling to the loss of several Abbot Kinney stalwarts this year. Even Rose Cafe, which sits just down the street and didn’t actually go anywhere (it’s just being reformatted by the impenetrable Sprout Restaurant Group), has taken some heat from longtimers unhappy with the way things are going.
According to a report from the Yo! Venice! blog back in May, the flip comes at the hands of property owner Miriam Zlotolow and restaurateur Bruce Horwitz, who also owns The Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney. Allegedly the Camarena family, which has owned La Fiesta Brava since the beginning, had not been operating under a formal long-term lease for years, but received no notice of any possible change until a permit application for construction on a new restaurant space showed up on the front door.
Horwitz told Yo! Venice! at the time that while he felt for the Camarenas, landowner Zlotolow was simply responding to a changing rental market. And with Horwitz happy to pay the higher price, there wasn’t much the Camarenas could do.
Still, they and some community activists are trying to fight the reversal of fortune, NBCLA reports, with protests and a media campaign meant to goad the landowner into rethinking the change. If not, La Fiesta Brava could be out on the street quite soon, forced to look elsewhere in suddenly steep Venice, or move on altogether.
As for the new restaurant plans in the works on the existing La Fiesta Brava property? Something much larger, but with a ‘neighborhood’ feel, says Horwitz. "It’s not going to be fancy and expensive."
Sounds sort of like La Fiesta Brava.