DOWNTOWN — Rustic Canyon restaurateurs are adding two new establishments to their current four with an Asian-fusion bistro and a wine bar/store on Seventh Street at Arizona Avenue.
Conditional use permits were issued at the Planning Commission meeting Wednesday to allow the sale of alcohol at three proposed establishments, including two from Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, the restaurateurs behind Rustic Canyon, Milo and Olive, Huckleberry Bakery, and the Sweet Rose Creamery.
800 Degrees, a pizzeria with locations currently in Westwood and at Los Angeles International Airport, also received a CUP for their proposed location at 120 Wilshire Blvd.
A CUP is required for certain land uses which may need special conditions to ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses.
Gerda Newbold, the lone commissioner to vote against the conditional use permit for the bistro and wine bar, feared the establishment’s hours would disrupt the neighborhood.
“We talk about the Downtown being a 17-hour alive city,” she said. “With operating hours from [8 a.m. to 2 a.m.], that doesn’t even leave 7 hours for quiet and we are building housing there right now.”
Commissioner Richard McKinnon strongly supported the proposal noting that because the housing is scheduled to open after the restaurants, incoming tenants will have an opportunity to decide if the noise is too much.
“Downtown is the place where we coalesce all of the activity … and we encourage lively streets and people walking to things … ,” he said. “A restaurant such as this, with a series of guys who have enlivened our city over the last six or seven years with really incredible places … is exactly what we’re looking to put Downtown, and especially on that street.”
A resident at a Downtown Santa Monica Inc. meeting expressed fear that the wine store would attract the local homeless population.
“At all of our places we focus on high-end ingredients and quality things,” Loeb responded. “We want to have some good bargain wines, great wines that you can find for $10 or $12. We don’t want to have anything that’s just going to be taken to the alley and consumed in a paper bag.”
At the commission meeting, no one from the public spoke in opposition to the proposed restaurants.
The still unnamed Asian bistro will fill 3,900 square feet of space inside the old Verizon building with an 800-square-foot patio for outdoor dining. It will seat 242 and include a raw bar, grill area, and charcuterie, said Colby Goff, a general partner.
“We weren’t looking to open another restaurant at the time,” he said. “But we saw the Seventh Street space and we were really inspired. We were moved by the place, the bones of the structure, and felt like it could be something very special.”
He said the bistro would have a “festive European feel.”
The wine bar will occupy 1,600 square feet in the same space with a 550-square-foot patio and 86 seats. It will feature bottled wine for sale in a small retail space.
800 Degrees received no scrutiny at the Planning Commission meeting, but a resident at the Downtown Santa Monica Inc. hearing was concerned about crowds, citing the Westwood branch, which she said was so popular that diners often lined up outside.
It will be located on Wilshire Boulevard at the corner of Second Street, right around the corner from California Pizza Kitchen, which is on the corner of Wilshire and Second Court.
The space was formerly a bank. Recently, SoulCycle, a biking fitness center, took over half the space. 800 Degrees proposes to take the other half, or 5,900 square feet.
“They have these super ovens that you stick the pizza in and it cooks it really fast at 800 degrees,” said land use consultant Howard Robinson. “They say it takes only a minute to cook.”