A handful of locals turned out yesterday for a public meet and greet with a few of the faces behind the new El Chavo construction in Los Feliz. Outside of some neighborhood council meetings it was the first chance for many to see renderings and hear discussion on just what the big, iconic plot of land will become ever since the restaurant shuttered last year.
For starters, the original El Chavo building — which dates back decades — has been peeled back to basically the studs and is being rebuilt as a large, more open restaurant with attached elevator tower that all faces Sunset Boulevard. A back building on the property previously held offices and a small boutique, but is now being reimagined as a bi-level operation holding two different restaurants at once.
Though on-site reps for the South Park Group said the new tenants had not been confirmed yet, the smallish footprint of the back building suggests some casual options, while the front will have room for full sit-down service, should the new ownership care for such things. None of them will be standalone bars, though there will likely be some level of bar component inside the primary restaurant at least.
What drew the most attention in yesterday’s informal session was the patio, a famed place from the old El Chavo days. Because the property is being more or less cordoned off between the two streets it touches as a function of the build, there will be loads more available seating outside — 200 seats, in fact. That’s a lot of open-air dining, though it’s unclear as of yet which of the three restaurants will be responsible for the space, if not all three.
There’s a good chance the whole thing could be open and shared, sort of like how Rossoblu and the Slanted Door team plan to do things at City Market South in Downtown. Regardless, South Park says they’re installing noise-dampening landscaping, and will also keep the valet stand out on Sunset Boulevard proper.
Don’t expect a reborn El Chavo any time soon. The place is still under heavy construction and has not signed on any permanent new tenants, so this one will take some time. Still, it’s a stark change for an iconic old Mexican restaurant with a lasting Hollywood heritage, and the neighborhood was certainly curious last night to hear more.