Cypress Park is set to debut a pair of new restaurants soon — one a bar with food, and another an ultra-casual pizza joint with a personal perspective — from some very familiar names, and right in the heart of the neighborhood’s main drag.
First up is Barra Santos, a Portuguese bar and restaurant from Last Word Hospitality, known locally for properties like Found Oyster, Nossa Caipirinha bar, and destination spot Red Dog Saloon out in Pioneertown. The bar and restaurant is in part the brainchild of Last Word’s director of operations Mike Santos, who was born in Portugal and grew up among the many Portuguese communities on America’s east coast, particularly Rhode Island. Santos has long wanted to run a restaurant and bar that highlights his roots, serving Iberian Peninsula wines, sherries, ports, and Madeira along with snacks and classic Portuguese dishes.
Chef/partner Melissa López (Bestia, Barbuto) will run the small kitchen inside the cozy, narrow restaurant, which will echo the look and feel of East Hollywood seafood hit Found Oyster, including some sidewalk seating and lots of exposed brick and wood. As for López’s food, expect salt cod fritters, grilled chorizo with aioli, grilled sardines, and the classic piri piri chicken with lots of lemon. Last Word’s wine director Evelyn Goreshnik will oversee the drinks, with an opening slated for early this spring at 1215 Cypress Avenue.
Right next door to Barra Santos will be Shin’s Pizza, a neighborhood takeaway slice joint named for Shin Irvin, co-founder of LA-based design firm Folklor, which has worked to craft some of the city’s most beautiful restaurant spaces like Gjelina. The Korean-born Irvin was adopted at a young age and found a sense of belonging, in part, at Philadelphia’s many kid-friendly pizza shops, a memory he’s keen on now sharing with a wider Eastside audience. The plan is to offer inexpensive slices (created by chef López of next-door Barra Santos) and seasonal sides and salads with pan-Asian flavors like roasted squash with togarashi oil or Chinese broccoli with gochujang. This being a nod-ish to Philadelphia still, expect arancini for snacking and a housemade lychee Italian ice as well. Shin’s Pizza should open after Barra Santos, likely in mid-spring, at 1215 1/2 Cypress Avenue.
Both projects are landing on the neighborhood’s busiest block, across the street from 1802 Roasters and just down from both the newer Loquat Coffee and Golden Poppy Market. Cypress Park has been a haven for restaurants and diners for decades, from the very first King Taco (located just two blocks away) founded in 1975. Shin, Santos, and López tell Eater that they are aware of the impact their arrival has on the neighborhood and are sensitive to issues around gentrification like those that have bubbled up nearby recently. They’ve been hosting conversations and snack nights with locals for months, offering tours of the spaces and meeting people face-to-face at street fairs and while undergoing construction. By offering lower-cost items like pizzas slices and catering to the immediate families in the neighborhood, the hope is to build goodwill and long-term relationships along Cypress Avenue for years to come.