Hollywood has seen many changes over the past three decades. For one, it’s become an even larger tourist destination thanks in part to the redone Hollywood and Highland intersection. In recent years, all of that increased foot traffic has resulted in a sharp rise in hotels, restaurants, and multi-million-dollar back-room drama. Through it all, though, the quiet, cozy Off Vine has remained a steadfast day-through-dinner option for those who know where to look. Now, after nearly 35 years of serving customers from a tiny yellow Craftsman on Leland Way, Off Vine is no more. The final day of service was Sunday, March 26.
For many, Off Vine was a hidden and historic part of the greater Hollywood landscape, the unassuming place where locals and tourists could commingle happily over caprese salads or weekend eggs benedicts or, at dinner, plates of chicken piccata and sauteed salmon with mushrooms and spinach. In spring the blooming patio of the 1908-built bungalow could become so overgrown with lush bushes and plants that umbrellas were unnecessary to keep out the sun. It was all part of the charm that kept Off Vine feeling invincible for so many years.
The restaurant never tried to presume a larger place in the Hollywood dining hierarchy, instead opting to create comfort and community even as its namesake Vine Street just steps away grew to include fast-casual options like Tender Greens, Chipotle, and Starbucks. The Arclight opened in 2002 just a block away, pulling in its own evening crowds with on-site dining and movie premieres, but Off Vine co-owner Richard Falzone never cared to go more corporate, telling the Los Angeles Times in a recent retrospective on the restaurant that the place is “not just a restaurant. People are coming into a family home and they are our family. It’s a home where there’s love, good food and good cheer.”
Of course, the pandemic and years of ebbing and flowing sales made things more tenuous at Off Vine than they might seem to the average diner, but that has been true for so many restaurants over the years. Now, seemingly all of a sudden, the tiny yellow house is no more, with the owners moving on to retirement and other plans as redevelopment looms. Soon the century-old home will be demolished by Invesco and Sares Regis Group to make room for an eight-story 153-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail spaces. In total, the development will span 165,000 square feet when it opens, reports What Now Los Angeles. After more than 30 years, the changes and encroaching density have finally landed at the doorstep of Off Vine, and now its last days have come.