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Who’s Responsible For Protecting LA’s Endangered Restaurants?

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Plus a sushi expansion and a decade-old Downtown pizza place shutters

Norm’s on La Cienega
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

What to do with LA’s restaurant icons?

Los Angeles has a long (and not entirely undeserved) reputation as a city with little regard for its own history, at least where buildings and neighborhoods are concerned. Architecturally or culturally important places get bulldozed all the time to make way for newer, shinier projects, leaving fewer and fewer places to point to as offerings of longstanding significance. The question is: what can (or even should) be done to protect some of LA’s most beloved icons?

Take for example Formosa Cafe, a decades-old bar and restaurant that once played favorites with the stars of yesteryear. Just about anyone who’s gone through in the past year would agree the place had become a shell of its former self (both literally and figuratively, as the building was largely gutted in an ill-fated remodel a while back), but considering it’s a private business on private property, what could be done? Historic city designations like the ones protecting Norm’s on La Cienega help, but ultimately in the case of Formosa the owner still seems to have simply thrown in the towel and moved on. Below is what’s left of the place, and despite plans to hopefully revitalize the location things aren’t pretty right now. Who will end up footing that bill, and what the results will turn out to be, remains a mystery at the moment.

What the current state of The Formosa Cafe looks like. #SaveTheFormosa.

A photo posted by Vintage Los Angeles (@alisonmartino) on

Sushi Enya expands

One of the city’s most beloved sushi spots, Sushi Enya, is expanding to Pasadena soon. That’s per a notice on the restaurant’s own website, plus some Craigslist job opening ads that have been floating around. No specific word on the address just yet, but it should be in the heart of Old Pasadena.

Is this LA’s best breakfast burrito?

Looks like LA Weekly was charmed by the breakfast burrito at the Flower District farmers market. In this fun piece, writer Josh Scherer tackles the behemoth and comes away mightily impressed, thanks of course to Humberto Raygoza, the so-called Chori-Man behind the operation. He’s also the one responsible for making some of the city’s best chorizo for restaurants like Salazar, so you know that breakfast burrito has got to be good.

Rice Bar does it well

Vice Munchies takes an inside look at Rice Bar, Charles Olalia’s staggeringly small Filipino operation in Downtown. Despite the diminutive size, the place packs a serious flavor punch, and has become a beacon for those looking to expand and grow the Filipino culinary profile in Los Angeles and beyond.

Downtown’s Pitfire Pizza moves on

It’s last call at Pitfire Pizza in Downtown, as the location along 2nd Street shutters after more than a decade of business. Citing new lease terms on the space, CEO Jeff Goodman says it was time to say goodbye to the place that has long “been a part of the exciting rebirth of the downtown community.” The final night of service is January 31.

Scratch Bar Santa Barbara prepares

Signage is going up for Scratch Bar’s second outlet in Santa Barbara. As you can see from the below image, the wraparound window is already displaying the name of Encino’s sit down omakase-style dinner destination, with hopes to open soon enough.

Scrach|Bar Montecito. Coming soon!

A photo posted by Scratch|Bar & Kitchen (@scratchbarla) on