The marquee sign for the soon-to-open Mohawk Bend restaurant in Echo Park has attracted attention from passersby as well as several comments on The Eastsider, with readers questioning the sign’s color and design as well as the wisdom of naming the restaurant after a dangerous and deadly stretch of Sunset Boulevard. Whatever you may think of the Mohawk Bend sign, it does get noticed, which caused a bit of a problem for the tiny vegetarian restaurant next door called Elf Cafe. Elf opened up about five-years ago and had made do without any signage on its narrow Sunset Boulevard storefront except for some lettering on the front glass door. But with the Mohawk Bend sign now looming above his front door, Elf owner and chef Scott Zwiezen decided it was time to come up with a sign of his own. Instead of trying to out do the big and brassy like Mohawk Bend sign, Zweizen decided to go with a more humble approach. Zweizen took some time out from the kitchen to explain his sign style:
We were always content with our small door sign. The new sign, as it were, was actually prompted by the arrival of the Mohawk Bend sign, which I feel sort of dominates the immediate vicinity. As we are located directly under their sign, I thought it best to put up something of our own which would hopefully dispel any confusion and ideally create a sense of separate environments. The sign itself is pretty old-fashioned. I hand lettered it with sign painter’s enamels and a gold leaf. It’s painted onto the old flag mount style metal sign which bore the name of several boutiques and the old tv repair shop that used to be there. The colors and the font (which was modified by Astara Calas, my partner at Elf) I wanted very much to blend in with the feel of the area, rather than scream out or be disruptive. I don’t know that the sign has made a difference in business, but I am happy with it’s role in the look and feel of our storefront.
- Healthy competition. Patch