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Hollywood’s Restaurant Boom Is Fueled by Chinese Investment Money, Says LA Times

Plus, a new wine region for the Central Coast, and more Orange County updates

An overhead woven lighting collection at a new restaurant at night in LA.
Indoor-outdoor seating at Ka’teen in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

So what exactly is fueling the latest burst of nightlife, restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality venues in Hollywood — particularly around Selma and Wilcox? According to the Los Angeles Times, a lot of the recent development there is thanks to the federal EB-5 program that allows investors from other countries to put $500,000 into individual projects that create local jobs, with those investors earning a United States visa as a result. The Relevant Group real estate firm alone has reportedly pulled in north of $200 million from over 400 Chinese investors for multiple hotels in the neighborhood, with those same properties now housing some of Los Angeles’s most exciting new (and upcoming) restaurants: think Ka’teen, Desert Five Spot, and the incoming Mes Amis, with Mother Wolf just around the corner.

The hiccup is that LA’s Unite Here Local 11 hospitality union is alleging that the jobs that are tied to the EB-5 visa investment program have not fully materialized, with only a portion of the promised employment opportunities actually coming to fruition once the hotels and other developments were built. The allegations have prompted 16 members of Congress to begin to scrutinize those deals, though the Relevant Group insists that they have done nothing wrong, adding to the Times that this is a “strong arm” move by the union as a way for it to try to jump-start unionization efforts at the Hollywood properties.

An Orange County arrival to the Valley, and the other way around

Orange County breakfast waffle spot Bruxie is expanding into Los Angeles County again, this time up to North Hollywood. The opening happens tomorrow Wednesday, March 16, in the NoHo Arts District at 5230 Lankershim Boulevard, featuring Belgian waffle sandwiches, desserts, chicken tenders, and more.

Meanwhile, heading the other way is Locale, the LA-based local delivery company that partners with restaurants to expand delivery areas around town. The business has grown into Orange County, meaning far away fans can score Pasta Sisters, Langer’s Deli, Burritos La Palma, and more with a $5 delivery fee.

Central Coast tidbits to know

The Central Coast city of Santa Barbara is considering calling Chick-fil-A a “public nuisance,” reports the Los Angeles Times, citing the long lines of cars and blocked driveway entrances for the fast food location on the already-busy State Street.

Nearby, the San Luis Obispo coastal area has been given its own AVA, a wine designation that delineates a specific and unique growing region. The area stretches from the ocean to about six miles inland for a long stretch, making it the most coastal wine region in the entire United States, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Up north, SF Gate takes a detailed look at the California classic chain Shakey’s Pizza, which has been in operation for decades. The restaurant is beloved by people across the state for its homey pizza, mojo fries, and nostalgic appeal.

Party in Inglewood on Saturday

It’s the two-year anniversary of the Wood Urban Kitchen near SoFi Stadium on Saturday, March 19, meaning half-off meals, drink deals, music, and more at Inglewood’s best sports bar.