Big changes could be coming to Los Angeles’s iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, and they might just transform the way that locals and tourists alike dine in one of the most congested parts of the city.
For years millions of tourists have flocked to the greater Walk of Fame area in Hollywood, particularly at the sprawling Hollywood and Highland complex, to catch movie premieres or buy trinkets and t-shirts — but few people go there for food that reflects the best of LA dining. Chains like Popeye’s and Hooters and Dave and Buster’s proliferate the area, alongside one-off inexpensive pizza places and divey bars advertising two-for-one deals for out of towners. Some, like APL and the upstairs restaurant at Japan House, have attempted to shift that narrative, but now LA City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell seems to be stepping in to help.
Per the LA Times and others, a new 90-page master plan document for the area has been unveiled that, if implemented, promises to dramatically overhaul the entire landscape of the Walk of Fame area along Hollywood Blvd. In broad strokes, the redevelopment would widen sidewalks and narrow street space, add more functional details for those on foot (like patios and shade trees) and on bicycle. Take a look at one of the below renderings from design firm Gensler, showing fully standalone bistro and cafe spaces on the sidewalk, in addition to walk-up windows, patios, and more. The plan resembles the overall look and feel of Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, itself redeveloped in the 1980s as a pedestrian-friendly zone.
Of course, this new guideline is far from assured. There is still a broad period of public comment and design tweaking to come, particularly as it pertains to traffic flow. Los Angeles as a whole has had mixed results in rolling out road diets, and cars remain a significant, if passive, political force in this city. Some, like those at Eater sister site Curbed, have long argued that stretches of the Walk of Fame (particularly at Hollywood and Highland) should be closed permanently and turned into a pedestrian plaza. After all, the street is shut down for weeks on and off every year for movie premieres and awards shows like the Oscars.
For now, the Walk of Fame remains a mostly tourist-friendly part of town that many locals avoid if they can help it. But perhaps there’s a brighter culinary future coming to the busy area, and maybe — just maybe — along the way Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell will once again allow street food vendors along the way.