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Echo Park’s Tiny Dinette Expands Into a Huge Marketplace and Restaurant Next Month

A whole new home goods store, and a full service restaurant called Libre

Dinette in Echo Park
Farley Elliott
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.

Echo Park’s diminutive walk-up spot Dinette is about to get a whole lot bigger. The casual sidewalk cafe — which was apparently one of the original Orange Julius locations in Los Angeles back in the day — is expanding into the long-gone E*Pack Family Clothing Store space, and judging by the look of things the space could be functional as soon as next month.

Owner Gareth Kantner has long had plans for the big, deep building along Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue. Before Dinette the takeaway even opened in 2014, Kantner was musing about an all-day marketplace selling food and assorted home goods. Now the marble has been laid and the shelves are almost fully stocked, with Kantner himself telling Eater this week that a February opening is likely, but not confirmed. Kantner owns the building, so he has been in little rush these past few years, focusing instead on getting everything as right as he wants it.

So what to expect? On the left will be a wide marble counter for takeaway goods like deli meats, breads, and the like. In the middle are shelves for all sorts of home goods, from copper spades and shovels to dim sum steamers and just about anything else one might want, and to the right is a wide bar pouring a full line of alcohol. The bar will also double as a dining area for Dinette proper, which will subsequently expand its menu into pastas, salads, and a number of other things. The current outdoor Dinette seating will remain as well.

And then there is the back, Kantner’s long-awaited standalone restaurant Libre. The space is still very close to completion, with art hanging on the walls and a gorgeous semi-open kitchen in view of the dining room. An impromptu walk-through with Kantner this week shows two separate bar areas (one a lounge up front, the other a well-placed space in the dining portion of the room) as well as a more traditional dining room with room for 80 or so customers at a time. Kantner has been mostly mum on the official menu so far, but says he’s eyeing an arrival in the spring or summer of this year. Again, no rush; the project has been talked about for over a decade at this point, and Kantner wants to get all the details in place. As for Dinette, keep an eye out for an opening next month. Or so it seems.

Dinette. 1608 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.