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Square One at the Boathouse Floats Off Into the Echo Park Sunset

A new option called Curate Cafe is coming

Square One at The Boathouse, Echo Park
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

It’s about to be the end of the line for Square One at the Boathouse overlooking Echo Park Lake. That’s according to The Eastsider, who note that the team behind Square One couldn’t come to an agreement with the city to stick around long-term.

A Wednesday vote by the city’s park commission agreed to swap vendors from Square One to a group called MTI Investments and their planned Curate Cafe concept. That team is based in Santa Fe Springs and agreed to a hefty new lease that would give Parks and Recreation at least 9% of total revenue earned from the location.

Filed city documents show that 5% of annual sales by Square One were going to the city, a number Square One ownership had actually hoped to bring down at one point. That city paperwork indicates that the Boathouse brought in $580,000 in 2015.

There is no word on when Curate Cafe will actually get up and running, but with money to be made it won’t be long. Square One had been operating on a month to month lease anyway, and according to The Eastsider the new tenant’s menu of salads, burgers, and breakfast items is just about ready to roll.

An update from Square One is below:

First, we are glad that we were able to open our cafe in conjunction with the renovation of Echo Park.  When Mayor Elect Garcetti asked that we jump in, we did. Unfortunately, it's no longer a sustainable business model for us.  The Recreation and Parks department wants to double our rent and insists that we, as the operator of the boathouse, have mobile vending.which we were prepared to do under the terms of our initial contract.  Our initial contract called for us to have exclusive rights to sell within the boundaries of the park. Unfortunately, the city did not enforce that provision.

We look forward to welcoming our customers at Square One's two other locations ----- on Fountain Ave. in East Hollywood and in the heart of Silver Lake on Hyperion Ave.  We wish Echo Park and the new operators of the boathouse well.