Lebanese specialist Hayat’s Kitchen has closed in Hollywood, ending a truncated run for the restaurant’s second location off Cahuenga. The company still retains its original restaurant in North Hollywood.
Hayat’s is among the more prominent Lebanese restaurants in greater Los Angeles, having successfully carved out a place for itself in the back corner of a strip mall off Burbank Boulevard over the past decade. The place has become a staple restaurant for the whole of the San Fernando Valley, and the expansion was thought to bring Hayat’s closer the dining crowds over the hill in Hollywood proper, while also adding more seating in a modern dining room, and an expansion to its traditional menu.
The jump to busy Cahuenga quickly caught the eye of incoming LA Times critic Bill Addison, who spent one of his first new reviews there lauding the classics like kibbeh. Even then, though, he had reservations about the longevity of the place, saying:
All in all, the place feels like it’s still coming together. In a phone interview, Shatila said he plans to rev up the baking program in coming weeks, including making fresh pita (the restaurant currently uses a decent commercial product). He also plans to put forth more savory specials. I tried the one special during a recent dinner — beef kofta, abundantly seasoned ground meat kebabs, baked in tomato sauce with peppers — and its hominess warmed on a wintry, rainy Los Angeles evening.
Now the restaurant is closed up tight, having succumbed in part to a bout of bad road construction happening right out front. A sign posted to the front door says only that customers can find them at the other location, with the address listed. Inside, the dining room is nothing but empty cases and chairs turned up on tables.