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Slow Summer Sales Have Some USC Village Restaurants Struggling

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Plus a big sushi update for the Valley, and a new chef at Cafe Birdie

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Casa Barilla
Casa Barilla
Casa Barilla

Pasta disappearing act

Branded pasta restaurant Casa Barilla has vacated its address at the sprawling $700 million USC Village live-shop development, closing after just eight months. The massive brick-wrapped facility is meant to cater to USC students and the nearby University Park and South LA crowds, but with students still out of class and the neighborhood not in love with the project, that has proven difficult. Reps for Casa Barilla send along the following: “As part of an ongoing business review, we realized that we need to pause, take a step back, and strategically re-align our restaurants business within the overall Barilla Group objectives. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to shrink the existing business by closing Casa Barilla USC Village.” The company maintains an existing location at South Coast Plaza in Orange County.

Brother news

Woodland Hills favorite Brothers Sushi is changing hands after more than 30 years in business. The restaurant will remain open under its current name, but as of September 1 it will be operated by Steve Vartazarian, the Valley lawyer who is well-known in the restaurant industry. Vartazarian also co-owns Fat Stack Smokers, building smokers for LA’s most prominent underground barbecuers. He tells Eater that he’ll be bringing along Mark Okuda, former lead at Asanebo, to run the place.

Ice cream conversations

Go Get Em Tiger in Los Feliz is experimenting with some new soft serve, made specifically with the coffee company’s own espresso. They’re continuing to give away tasters all week long for those who enquire within.

Soft serve from Go Get Em Tiger

Hidden history

There’s a wild backstory to one of Pasadena’s forgotten restaurants, and it involves nuclear war and Albert Einstein. LAist has all the details on Madeline Garden in Pasadena, including plenty of old photographs from the eatery’s wild Manhattan Project era.

No more straws

Santa Barbara has become ground zero in the ensuing plastic straw wars. The Central Coast city just approved (unanimously) a decision to levy fines and potential jail time to repeat offenders who continue to give customers plastic straws at their restaurants. The ultimate penalty could go as high as six months in lock up, says Daily Mail.

No gluten here

Barton G is hosting a completely gluten-free dinner on August 11 with quarterly print publication GFF Magazine. The meal runs $129 a head across three courses and non-alcoholic drinks, and comes with some swag and a lot of Instagram possibilities.

Baguette me not

Paris Baguette has landed at 404 W. 8th Street in Downtown, and to celebrate the arrival the chain is giving away croissants to the first 100 people in line starting at 9 a.m. on August 2. Other prizes will happen throughout the day, including coupon book and tote bag giveaways.

New names

Chef Russell Victorioso is in at Cafe Birdie. The longtime Odys & Penelope / The Mighty chef is now running his own place as executive chef out in Highland Park.

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