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Longtime Highland Park Space Earns New Life as a Mellow Mexican-Italian Restaurant

Plus a cool new outdoor pop-up in Venice, and a Chinatown drive-in serves local food

A moody wood-lined bar with a dark bar top at left and elevated booths to the right.
The former Sonny’s Hideaway
Elizabeth Daniels
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.

Here comes Nativo to Highland Park. The soon-to-open spot is run by Paredes and Corrissa Hernandez, two locals (they also run Xelas in Boyle Heights) who took over the popular Sonny’s Hideaway on York earlier this year and are now readying for a new reveal in just a few weeks’ time. The ample back outdoor space has been built out into a series of distanced hangout corners for cocktails and food, with a menu from chef Danielle Duran-Zecca who previously ran the show at Union in Pasadena. Of late, Duran-Zecca has gained a following for her Mexican-Italian cooking under the name Amiga Amore, and for her weekend brunches at Xelas, which will continue on at Nativo.

Expect special pandemic-appropriate programming like what the team does at Xelas too, including virtual live entertainment sets and more when Nativo opens. But mostly, owners tell Eater, they’re eager to offer something new, casual, and locally-owned in Highland Park, which has seen a ton of upheaval in the hospitality space both before and during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Expect an opening in either late September or early October.

And in other news:

  • Tilda in Echo Park has a new throwback wine window, meaning walk-up drinks and takeaway bottles are now equally possible.
  • A new drive-in movie and food setup is coming to Chinatown, starting with a showing of Selena on September 18 and 19. The plan is to partner with local restaurants (first up is Lao Tao) and to show intriguing films that “surface marginalized community stories through art,” says the website for the event, titled Cinemauto.
  • Fig in Santa Monica is now offering home school lunch meals, complete with delivery for families on the Westside. Meals run $15, and for each one purchased, another will be donated to a local family in need via the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club.
  • Damian, the long-awaited project from chefs Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera, is still opening soon in the Arts District. In fact, the duo is now hiring staff.
  • Pee-Wee Herman (yes, the Pee-Wee) took to Twitter to share some love for the restaurant Food on Pico Boulevard. The very SEO-unfriendly name hides some great food, the celebrity says, and with everyone struggling during the pandemic the place could use a bit of a boost.
  • A new Venice plant-based Mexican food pop-up has arrived, called De Buena Planta. The vibe-y all-outdoor spot does drinks and food like vegan daikon radish birria and grill cauliflower tacos. The setup (run by the Butcher’s Daughter’s Heather Tierney) runs Friday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1118 Abbot Kinney.