Los Angeles has been hit with a slew of well-known restaurant and nightlife closures recently — and more could be on the way, including the uncertain fate of none other than Dear John’s in Culver City.
Perhaps the most surprising new closure around Los Angeles right now is the Village Idiot on Melrose, which pulled up stakes on Sunday, April 2 after 16 years of business. For years the bar and restaurant had been a staple for bustling Melrose, but changing times and the many ongoing issues that come with running a restaurant and bar seem to have finally caught up with ownership, who stated simply that “by any standard, we’ve had an exceptionally good run.”
Meanwhile old-school hangout Dear John’s could be closing as well, with ownership offering an update on the always-tenuous situation at the reborn Culver City restaurant. While the retro former Rat Pack hangout has been slated for demolition and redevelopment for years, so far the property has hung with new lease extensions and promises of one more martini. This time, though, things might be different. “We wish we had better news, but… we have not yet come to terms for an extension of our lease,” reads an Instagram update from ownership. “As is now, our final date is May 31, 2023.” The restaurant’s sibling project, Dear Jane’s, opened in September 2022 in Marina del Rey.
Meanwhile in Downtown, the quirky PBJ.LA is moving on from Grand Central Market. The stand, known for its gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, managed to squeeze out six good years at LA’s historic food hall, but has not been able to work out a new lease with management. Ownership notes in its closure post that they were told many times that they “didn’t stand a chance” of making it work for a few months, let alone more than half-a-decade, ultimately turning the modernist stand into a highly profitable venture. The restaurant’s last day of service at GCM is April 23, though they have plans to potentially open up elsewhere and will continue with catering.
Similarly, Detroit-style pizza maker DTown Pizzeria is moving on from its space today inside of Phorage in West Hollywood. “We have simply outgrown the space and need more to fire on all cylinders and serve the best pizza we can,” says owner Ryan Ososky, who is fresh off of a big win at the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas last week. Ososky tells Eater that he’s unsure how long the restaurant will be dark before reopening at Topanga Social, the new food hall development at the Westfield Topanga, later this year.
Other upcoming or recent closures include Dragon House, the nearly 50-year-old Chinese restaurant in Riverside, California, and bucket drop specialist Calabama in East Hollywood, which has stopped its breakfast sandwich production in favor of hot sauce and other pop-ups. Celebrity Lisa Vanderpump’s West Hollywood restaurant Pump could close soon too, though the fate of that reality TV restaurant is still unknown.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as several notable names like La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills and Minh Phan’s Porridge + Puffs have managed to reopen in recent weeks after long stretches away. In Silver Lake, plant-based Mexican patio hangout De Buen Planta is coming back too, with a planned return on Cinco de Mayo.