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Inside the Latest Plans to Return Formosa Cafe to its Historic Old Hollywood Glory

A total overhaul is coming, thanks to the 1933 Group

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Formosa Cafe, West Hollywood
Wikipedia Commons
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.

There’s a bright future ahead for the Formosa Cafe, which is saying something considering how down and out the West Hollywood restaurant legend had gotten. With the renowned 1933 Group set on restoring the historically-recognized building to its former glory, Curbed LA says the place could not only become a shining beacon to the Old Hollywood past, but a way for urban developers to keep things classic while embracing the future.

Partners Bobby Green, Dimitri Komarov, and Dima Liberman say that they plan to pour “seven figures” into the property by way of renovation and restoration, which will be spread out over many months as the team gets the details right before an official reopening.

That includes plans to update the original copper bar and all seating inside the long space, which still includes a 1925-era train car attached to the back. They’ll also be syncing up some of the disparate design elements from various years and Formosa Cafe iterations, focusing on the red look and chic leather details throughout.

1933 Group is also keen to bring back or recreate altogether some of the bits of ephemera that made Formosa Cafe so popular. There will be more Old Hollywood photos and details plugged into the overall decor, thanks in no small part to a grandson of original co-owner Lem Quon, who has kept many things tucked away in storage for decades.

Formosa Cafe
Formosa Cafe

On the food front (never a strong suit for the Formosa Cafe), the idea is to move into a dim sum menu that plays to the longtime look and feel of the building. The 1933 Group doesn’t offer much in the way of details to Curbed beyond that, but guests can also expect a full run of cocktails, a completely revamped upstairs rooftop, and a newly enclosed ground-floor patio.

When all is said and done, the place will hopefully look like a jewel for the city of West Hollywood once again. And if the 1933 Group’s restoration of places like Idle Hour and the gorgeous Highland Park Bowl are any indication, that’s well on its way to happening.