When the Ace Hotel opened in the southern part of Downtown LA’s Historic Core in 2014, it marked the rebirth of the neighborhood, setting off a decade of redevelopment and revitalization in the central business district. On December 12, the hotel chain announced in a statement that it would be closing its doors on January 31, 2024, as the owners of the building plan to reflag the property into a tech-driven, rooms-only situation without the Ace’s food and beverage. In addition, the Theater at Ace DTLA, a popular venue for screenings, shows, and performances, will come under new management.
In recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, both Downtown and the Ace Hotel have struggled to return to pre-pandemic activity, as restaurants in the area have shuttered. In addition, numerous other competitors have sprouted up in the area, including the Hoxton, the Freehand, and Proper hotels. The Ace’s ground-floor restaurant, Loam, struggled to gain traction after it took over Best Girl in 2021, which had been operated by Providence chef Michael Cimarusti since 2017. The space’s original restaurant was called L.A. Chapter when the hotel opened in 2014.
The Ace Hotel’s style and design were part of a Downtown LA renaissance, its stark black and white tiles, historic architecture, and overall hipness shaping a generation of artists, influencers, and more. Its rooftop was one of the city’s buzziest nightlife spots, with prime views of the burgeoning borough. Its closure marks the end of an era — when everything felt possible in Downtown.
LA connections in Vegas
Eater Vegas reports that the new Durango Resort and Casino opened on December 5, 2023, off the Strip in the southwest part of Las Vegas Valley with 201 rooms and 15 bars and restaurants. Two LA-area restaurants opened inside the Eat Your Heart Out food hall: Uncle Paulie’s Deli and Irv’s Burgers. Other notable restaurants at the resort include Mijo Modern Mexican, Nicco’s Prime Cuts & Fresh Fish, Bel-Aire Lounge and Backyard, and Wax Rabbit speakeasy.
Weekend pizza in Downtown
Superfine Pizza, which had faithfully served a sleepier part of the Fashion District but closed on weekends during the pandemic, is now serving again on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, the Steve and Dina Samson-operated pizzeria will collaborate with the new Creature Comforts brewery where beer patrons can order Superfine and get it delivered to them.
An honest take on Craig’s
Podcaster Jason Stewart gives a personal, highly entertaining view on celebrity restaurant Craig’s, operated by former Dan Tana’s maitre’d Craig Susser. The piece, published on Taste, dives into the psyche of the typical Craig’s diner, someone who doesn’t want to be judged for eating low-brow fare: “Craig’s offers some of the most straightforward American food in town, free of unnecessary flair and fusion, unabashedly saying this type of restaurant’s quiet part out loud: ‘We didn’t come to this restaurant to eat food.’ And the food there has to be remarkably undynamic because anything else would be a sensory overload for a sensuous clientele: people who look fabulous for 52.”
Makanai Mondays in Virgil Village
As promised, Virgil Village izakaya Budonoki is commencing Makanai Mondays, a $10 set meal with sides plus an abridged beverage menu meant for industry folks and the local community to enjoy the hip new restaurant. Here’s what Budonoki is saying about the dinner in a neighborhood that has seen a lot of development and change in recent years:
“Our goal here is to make it more affordable to enjoy a meal in our space than it is to hit the drive through at a McDonald’s or order a bowl at Chipotle. It’s an industry night of sorts, but it taps into what an industry night should be all about — inclusivity for everyone in the community to gather and break bread without breaking the bank.”
The first one starts on December 18 with a katsu curry plate offered from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Walk-ins only.