Often referred to as “the other side of the Grove,” the Town and Country Shopping Center is slated for a big new redevelopment starting in 2019. The construction will push out longtime tenants like the 55-year-old Andre’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, which has served generations of Angelenos with heaping plates of spaghetti and other Italian-American classics.
At the moment, the business’s lease will end on December 31, 2018, and it hopes to operate month-to-month until construction for the new development commences, which means there’s no specific closing date. The famed restaurant has a desire to move back in when construction is complete, but in the meantime the owners plan to open a new restaurant in the San Fernando Valley called Grandi Italiani.
In May, developer Ira Smedra alerted the Mid City West Community Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee about future plans for a 26-story residential tower where Kmart and Andre’s Pizza currently sit. The plans include renovations to Whole Foods, CVS Pharmacy, Citibank, and the and parking lots on the corner of Fairfax and 3rd Street.
Smedra sought to develop the property over a decade ago, had to wait until Kmart’s lease expired in 2017. Construction starts in 2019, and Andre’s owners suggest that new lease terms will be costly. Andre’s will consider returning to the original location if the price is right, but their messaging seems to indicate a comeback is unlikely.
Andre’s owners wrote a lengthy Facebook post about the forthcoming Grandi Italiani, which should open by fall. The post says the Grandi Italiani is a six-minute walk from a Metro Orange Line stop, but did not release an actual address.
If walls could talk, the 55-year-old restaurant Andre’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria could tell endless tales of Angeleno history. Chef Domenic Andreone opened the no-frills Andre’s Pizza in 1963. Andre’s management left the following explanation on their Facebook page:
Dear friends: We recently gave a letter to our team members to update them on our current lease situation at the shopping center. To keep you informed, I’d like to share that letter with you as well.
Dear Team Members:
First, the bad news: At the present time, Andre’s lease at the shopping center is still set to expire on December 31, 2018. Our goal is to secure at least a month-to-month lease past that date. This way, we can continue to serve the community until the Landlord receives approval from the city to break ground with their redevelopment plans.
While the city, local leaders, teachers and administrators at Hancock Park Elementary School, and we are all pushing back on the scope and scale of the project, eventually the Landlord or his successors will prevail in updating the shopping center in some way. At that time, Andre’s will have to be closed for an indefinite period during the demolition and construction phases of the new development.
An Andre’s at the new shopping center might be possible, but the new lease terms would make for a costly proposition: higher rent, taxes, insurance, common area maintenance, etc. Worse than that, our team members would be out of a job for the duration.
For Andre’s to stay in business, it’s become clear that we must look elsewhere for a place to open before this location closes.
Now for the good news: We’ve secured a new location in Canoga Park! While this might not be totally convenient for our team members and customers, economics was a huge factor in choosing our new location. It’s much less costly to lease a space in Canoga Park than it is in the Beverly-Grove area. Additionally, we would be able to keep our prices more affordable for our customers.
Since the Metro Orange Line has a stop just a brief six-minute walk from the new restaurant, many of our current team members and customers may decide that it’s worth the extra time it takes to get to and from our new location.
Plans have already been submitted with the city for our new restaurant. Our goal is to open by Fall of this year.
We’ve decided to name the new sister restaurant, Grandi Italiani. The name was carefully chosen to be easily remembered and to honor the many great Italians that helped to enrich our lives with their culture, scientific achievements, food and strong family values.
We know that all our team members are special to the history and success of Andre’s, so we will continue to inform you of any important updates. Please address your questions to Aron for any further clarification or to express your concerns.