For almost eight years, Hollywood restaurant Rao’s has been a steady purveyor of homestyle Italian food, replicating a menu brought over from its original (and impossible to get into) location in New York City. The Los Angeles version of the restaurant — there is another in Las Vegas as well — in the Media District area of Hollywood has long been a favorite with celebrities and locals alike, thanks to its generous portions and intimate setting. Just this month, though, a report put out by Los Angeles Magazine in print seemed to indicate that Rao’s would be going away permanently, a casualty of redevelopment in the post-COVID-19 era.
Except, that may not really be the case. Representatives for the restaurant who have spoken with Eater say the article — which does not appear online, but can be seen below — has misrepresented the facts; Rao’s, they say, has every intention of staying in Hollywood through the duration of 2021, and likely “well into 2022.” The LA Mag report was correct in noting that Rao’s would eventually vacate the property to make way for a large commercial development slated for the area, they say, but not for some time. What’s more, the team says they are dedicated to finding a new building for Rao’s somewhere in the Los Angeles area long before the formal closure date to come.
“While we haven’t yet found a new home, we are actively looking for the perfection location for Rao’s in Southern California and will remain open in our current space through the remainder of this year and into 2022,” said owner Frank Pellegrino Jr. Reps say Rao’s has been doing strong business during the past eight years, and that it was given a good offer to vacate the lease in order to make way for the new development.
The Hollywood location opened on a stretch of Seward Avenue that didn’t have much in the way of synergy with other businesses at the time, though, in recent years, the surrounding Media District has exploded with development, thanks in part to the boom of streaming and tech companies that have opened offices in the area. While Rao’s remains one of the only restaurants on the block, the neighborhood has gained plenty of noteworthy places in recent years, from Petit Trois and Trois Mec to the southwest to Tartine, new hip Hollywood hangout Gigi’s, and Sightglass further west.
As for timing overall, fans of the Italian restaurant will have at least six months, and probably longer, to eat fried mozzarella, meatballs, and veal parmesan before Rao’s makes its next move. Regardless, reps say, the brand plans to announce a new location when they can, with plans to keep Rao’s in Los Angeles for a long time to come.
- All Rao’s Coverage [ELA]