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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Storefront Report: Makeover may have failed to save a Silver Lake restaurant


After a weeks-long closure and renovation this summer, Dusty’s Bistro reopened in July with new decor – described by Eater L.A. as “faux rustic bistro” – and new menu items.  But the makeover generated mixed reviews from customers of  the restaurant, which anchors a corner of shops at Sunset Boulevard and Descanso Drive.  This weekend, the restaurant apparently closed for good after the owner sold the business, according to a former employee and nearby merchants.  The phone has been disconnected and attempts to reach the owners at the restaurant,  which was closed today, were not successful.

“The remodel was not received well by many locals and regulars,” said a Silver Lake resident and former employee. “For now it will be closed for a while and most likely be a completely different restaurant. It’s bitter sweet because the real “Dusty’s” was lost after the remodel.”

What will replace Dusty’s? Some have mentioned a high-end Japanese restaurant but that could not be confirmed, however. One nearby merchant said Dusty’s busy brunch and weekend business generated a lot of foot traffic for nearby stores. Now that traffic is gone for now.

27 comments

  1. My wife and I went shortly after it reopened and knew this day was coming. I completely agree with the quote in the article about how the “real Dusty’s was lost” after the reboot. It’s like the life and character was sucked out of the place.

  2. Not sure what the “real” Dusty’s was, but I recall eating here prior to the renovation and at the last minute ordering their delicious sounding homemade vegetarian burger but getting served a Gardenburger brand patty (the store bought frozen variety) on a stale bun at the low, low cost of $14.00.

    Silver Lake needs to step up its food game.

  3. it also smelled like my grandma’s house in there

  4. I am not sure what they were trying to do. They renovated the place to try and make is a little more “upscale” but decided to keep the kitschy tamale signs. Like they wanted to renovate and keep history but just ended up looking shitty. They seemed to do a good breakfast/lunch business even after the renovations. Looks like they have the same problem that Local had; breakfast business is hopping but dinner sucks.

  5. Mixed. On the one hand, I never liked Dusty’s, nor the scarf-wearing, high-end clientele, but kept an amused idea of it sucking the soul from surrounding eateries.

    However, I was always satisfied with its being there; I never argued its Silver Lake status, and agreed the remodel tainted what sense of authenticity it had. I wouldn’t really have ever wanted to see it close.

    And, somehow, the soul-suckery of taco fabrication across the street remains…

    • I’m pretty convinced the woman who runs our beloved Taco Fabricator is only able to keep that place going because of a large trust fund or “sugar daddy” situation of sorts. It’s almost always empty; I actually try to make a note of how full it is every time I pass. In the last 3-4 months, I’ve never seen more than two or three pairs of people eating there at the same time, even during dinner.

  6. “…soul-suckery of taco fabrication…”. I like this phrase.

  7. There was nothing ever redeemable to Dusty’s and the remodel was a step backward. Hopefully something delicious with good service will take it’s place.

  8. Yeah my waiter had BO and a texting problem AND the food was awful. Other that than that the experience was awesome! Used to eat hear all the time back in 2004. Tooooo bad.

  9. The decor was always pretty terrible. Before and after renovation. My parents loved it, though. It was one of those places to take out-of-town relatives that always seemed to please.

  10. I always left Dusty’s feeling disappointed. My bill was high, and my satisfaction was low. I look forward to something new.

  11. My son and I always liked it. We ate there recently and had a great experience. We’re sad to see it close.

  12. We went to Dusty’s – a place we used to enjoy for brunch a couple of times a month – just once after the so-called reboot. They took a warm, comfy interior and turned it into a cold high school lunch room. Old favorites were gone from the menu, to boot. We had no desire to go back. How could someone have made this suicidal miscalculation?

  13. the old Dusty’s wasn’t all that good–B to B+ food served amid a bizarre mix of Southwest decor and random crap from a garage sale–but at least it was reliably adequate. the new place was just appalling. I went there once (and once only) in a few days after the reopening and remarked to my girlfriend that it would be gone in six months. seems I was being charitable.

  14. It was an anchor for that corner, that location is nestled in the Silver Lake hills and gets great light In the morning and early afternoon which made it an appealing Brunch location. Back in the day that corner was full of energy. The next owner has to harness that. Sounds like they paid alot of money so I hope the read the yelp reviews and learn from them. High end Japanese sounds good for the evening but it better be amazing. The comfort food concept if done right would work again so I hope the new owners have a take on that too. If they pay attention they should do well.

  15. Had some good times there. I for one will miss the place.

  16. Silver Lake Architect

    I’m flabbergasted at all the negative comments here! Dusty’s is/was the closest restaurant to our place on Descanso. We’ve been going there since 2005 and never had a bad meal or bad service, breakfast, lunch or dinner. And, really, the prices are/were not that high (unless you were comparing them to Tom’s Burgers)?!? For a local eatery, it was great. But, like many others here, I agree: Why did they renovate it? It didn’t need it. And what they put in is what I used to put in strip malls 10 years ago (maybe if they had consulted a local architect?).
    Not even 4 years ago, there was a wait for a table, better call early for reservations or you weren’t getting a table. I also agree, the light is great for brunch! I don’t think a Japanese place would make it there. But then again, I didn’t think that stretch of Sunset needed another Taco Bar either. So, who knows. I just hope something great comes back. Personally, I’m all for something Silver Lake doesn’t have, like BBQ, Creole, etc.

  17. good. that place was gross.

  18. Had quite a few good brunches the first year they opened – It was all downhill from there. Never had one good dinner. The decor always looked like Stevie Nicks threw up on an unfortunate Native American. Service was always between below average and downright horrific. Had mussels that tasted like a dirty kitchen rag & lobster ravioli that had enough salt to cure a whale. Marie seemed to enjoy people as much as they enjoyed the service and atmosphere. Good riddance.

  19. I do look forward to something new, although I admit there was something pleasant about having a plush old timey spot around even if the food was only ok.

    And I agree with the above, how that soul suckery of a taco fabrication survives is a good question.

  20. Dusty’s ought to have been better; it was in a great location (except for occasional parking headaches) and its ambiance seemed to read the Silver Lake vibe correctly. However, the food was always dull at best and never surpassed mediocre. The menu was unimaginative, the ingredients bland and they could never make a staple diner-style item like a burger or a spaghetti bolognese interesting let alone transcend such undemanding expectations with anything more exciting or original. Mysteriously, in every incarnation, the place always appeared to lack one thing: a good chef.

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