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Inside the Sometimes Awkward Position Restaurants Take in Gentrification

Plus Orange County news, The Pie Hole expands, and WeHo’s missing Russians

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The Mar Vista
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.

Restaurants and gentrification

KCET wades into some murky waters with a frank conversation about restaurants and the role they play in gentrification. It’s a touchy subject for a ton of personal and socio-economic reasons, particularly in neighborhoods like East LA and Boyle Heights.

As the story highlights, there’s a way for positive interactions to happen between new businesses and the communities they enter in hopes to serve. On the small scale you can check out places like Dough Box Pizza in El Sereno, and on the larger side of things there’s La Monarca Bakery, a local Mexican-American owned chain of bakery/restaurants with locations in Hollywood, Boyle Heights, Santa Monica, Highland Park, and beyond. Other places like The Mar Vista are changing neighborhoods in more subtle ways, with inclusive nights, bike racks and pedestrian-friendly improvements, and an upcoming urban garden. It all adds up to change, but sometimes for good.

The end of El Arco Iris

Today is the last day ever for longstanding Highland Park restaurant El Arco Iris. The place is moving on after many decades, so go say your goodbyes while you still can.

The case of the missing Russians

LA Weekly talks about West Hollywood’s shrinking Russian population, as second and third generation Russians move out of the area in favor of hipper, younger digs elsewhere. The result is a slowdown not only at cultural centers and meet ups, but also at the area’s tight collection of Russian restaurants.

Banh mi glory

Speaking of love, look at LA Times giving shouts to the team at Banh Oui in Silver Lake. The auto body shop pop-up continues to gain steam because of its quirky location and absolutely delicious daytime offerings.

The deli arrives

New Beverly Boulevard spot Uncle Paulie’s Deli earns an opening date, at least according to Instagram. The East Coast-inspired option kicks off the party this Saturday, led by chef Frank Pinello of Viceland show The Pizza Show.

We're ready for you Los Angeles! Join us opening weekend Saturday April 29 and Sunday April 30 or DM to get on our VIP mailing list #UnclePauliesDeli

A post shared by Opening Weekend April 29 & 30! (@unclepauliesdeli) on

The priciest tea

You can officially get the super-rare Pre-QingMing Long Jing loose leaf tea at American Tea Room right now. For those not in the know, the stuff is apparently super rare and seasonal, and retails for $16 a cup at any of the Tea Room’s three locations in Beverly Hills, Downtown, or Newport Beach.

Newport’s newest

There’s a slick newcomer heading for Newport Beach called OLEA, and it’s being opened by Russ Bendel, the name behind popular spots Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. The dinner-only spot does slightly upscaled American fare with room for 130 inside and out, and should come online with a full liquor license by the end of the year. 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach.

A spirits master class

Want to learn more about botanical spirits and wines like gin and vermouth? There’s a class for that tonight at The Bazaar, running $55 a head. You’ll get four drinks to try after learning all about them, plus some small accompanying bites.

Expansion plans

The Pie Hole has big plans for expansion, opening up a number of new outlets locally as well as some East Coast stuff soon too. Toddrickallen notes some new paperwork up on an address in Venice, while a Craigslist ad points south to Long Beach. Oh and then there’s this: an expansion all the way to North Carolina.