In West Hollywood’s never-ending game of restaurant roulette, bets are being made on a number of new establishments (and hedged on at least one old one with a change of menu and chef.)
Perhaps the most notable (at least in the online world of celebrity gossip) is reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump’s opening of P.U.M.P. on what has become known as the city’s “cursed corner.” The corner, 8948 Santa Monica Boulevard at Robertson, has been home to Java Detour, Voodoo Room, Gozar and Kachina Grill, to name establishments of the last few years.
P.U.M.P. is set to open for dinner (with an Italian / Mediterranean menu) on Thursday. The opening hasn’t been hindered by a lawsuit filed against Vanderpump and Todd and the owners of the property. In the suit, still on the Los Angeles Superior Court docket, two former employees of The Abbey allege that the owner of the property promised to help them open a sports bar on the location but reneged and did a deal with Vanderpump instead. Recent filings in Los Angeles Superior Court allege that a series of misrepresentations by property owner Elie Samaha.
There’s also a possible closing in WeHo’s Boystown. TPJ (The Pizza Joint) opened in December at 8729 Santa Monica Blvd. between Gym Bar and Five Guys (the location of the former Fruits Produce Bar). It now is listed for sale on the Loopnet real estate site. TPJ currently is seeking city permission to sell alcohol as well as food.
Further east, Thomas Schoos’ Beach Nation, on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard at Sweetzer, is set for a “soft” opening on May 21 and a formal opening May 28. Beach Nation will offer drinks and light food on a white sand-covered patio facing Santa Monica Boulevard. If you close your eyes, you can fantasize that you’re hearing the waves on Santa Monica Beach rather than the never ending flow of traffic on SMB. Beach Nation is near Don’t Tell Mama’s, the restaurant and piano that occupied Schoos’ former O Bar space until its closing Monday.
On Santa Monica Boulevard at Formosa, Formosa Cafe is welcoming a new chef after a brief venture by Red Med to revamp the menu of the ’50s Hollywood hangout. Red Med signed on in January to offer a Vietnamese-inspired menu. But a disagreement with Formosa management ended that in April. Now new chef Brian Huskey is developing an Asian and Latin menu that will debut late next month.
On Melrose Avenue at Fairfax, Andres Izquieta and Mike Shab have opened Fala LA as what they are calling an “answer to our fast food nation.” Fala, 7751 1/2 Melrose Ave. in the space formerly occupied by Tomato Pie Pizza, does offer fast food, but not what you’ll find at Micky D’s. Its menu — which includes falafel and salads — caters to the “vegan, diet conscious, allergy restricted, lactose intolerant, healthy and wellness gurus” that make up a substantial part of the WeHo population.