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Century City’s Rocky Road to Restaurant Success

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Plus chefs give back in a big way today

Eataly Rendering
A rendering of Eataly Century City
Eataly

What the heck is happening in Century City?

Despite the rosy outlook from many restaurateurs (including a number of out-of-towners who haven’t even landed yet), Los Angeles is not always the land of plenty when it comes to great dining neighborhoods. Some continue to struggle along for a variety of reasons, including high rents and low foot traffic, while others seem to be stuck in an endless "coming soon" loop.

That certainly seems to be the case with one particular stretch of Century City at least: The Westfield mall, coming ... some day to that busy stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. Much like the maligned Santa Monica Place, the massive shopping destination has been hemorrhaging restaurant concepts for basically the past two years, all in service of eventually drawing in a new, bigger crowd of shoppers down the line once construction is finished.

That doesn’t leave much in the way of shopper’s choice at the moment though, with Toddrickallen noting that there are only about eight dining options left anywhere in the food court area. In the past year and a half, the mall has witnessed the demise of a BJ’s Brewhouse, a Pink Taco, a Season’s 52, and a once-popular location of The Counter, in addition to all the smaller losses along the way.

There are hopefully brighter days to come as construction across the project comes to completion next year. That Season’s 52 is set to become an outpost of Orange County highlight Javier’s, while Shake Shack is still working on a build-out there as well. Most notably will be Eataly, the Mario Batali-backed massive Italian food hall that was first announced in 2015 and should finalize next year.

In the meantime though, there are limited options for Century City beyond a few amazing (and pricier) sit-down options like Hinoki + The Bird and Craft. Eventually you’ll be able to shop to you heart’s content while holding a Shake Shack burger in one hand and some spendy Italian wine in the other, but until then it’s tough times for the Westfield dining set.

Chefs give back today

The annual Los Angeles Mission Thanksgiving is going down today, with chefs from across the city stepping in to feed 3,500 homeless folks in the heart of Downtown. The yearly event is usually spearheaded by Michael Voltaggio but this year is being overseen by Otium’s Timothy Hollingsworth, and will also include some cooking from Sherry Yard, Duff Goldman, and others. The teams have actually been on site since 4:30 a.m. today already, and will be serving up until it’s all gone.

Go fishing in Santa Monica

Looks like the Batter Fish truck will be out and about tomorrow in Santa Monica, should you be in the neighborhood and decide to enjoy some seafood by the beach. Better still, the now-mobile operation is running a deal from noon until 4 p.m. (or until they sell out) where fish & chips plates are $8 and lobster rolls are $10. The catch? You’ve got to whisper the secret phrase: "ocean turkey." Just look for the bright yellow truck on Ocean Ave., pictured below.

A new Tapatio sandwich spot off Culver Boulevard

Looks like a new sandwich spot has sprung up near the longstanding Tacomiendo off the corner of Culver and Inglewood. The sturdy, spicy options from the newcomer named Tapatia run in the $7 range, says Food Talk Central, and look pretty darn appealing.

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar brings good vibes to Santa Ana

There’s a new drink spot on Main Street in Santa Ana, as Mix Mix Kitchen Bar comes to life as of Friday night at 5 p.m. The grand opening will feature a suckling pig for guests plus a welcome cocktail, while the full menu includes everything from goat cheese toast and lamb meatballs to cheesesteak fries and housemade pasta. Evening hours only to start, plus brunch. 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana.

Inside the new-look elysian

Frogtown’s long running elysian (yes, lowercase E) is switching things up, adding a bar to their main dining room and keeping a more consistent schedule. That means dinner Thursday through Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekly, with options like smoked mussels, lamb spareribs, and herb gnocchi. The bar should be ready in the new year if not before, with cocktails running $13 a pop and coming from Mark Hendrix, while events will continue to pop up during off times on a rotating basis.

Check out Urban Press Winery in Burbank

There’s a new wine option in Burbank, as Urban Press Winery is now open along San Fernando Boulevard. The tasting room pours from bottles of proprietary wine, while also serving a small assortment of snacks and selling bottles under the Urban Press label. Grand opening was last week, with daily hours 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. most nights, extending to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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