ECHO PARK — Señor Fish will become one of Echo Park’s largest restaurants after a city zoning official approved plans to expand the restaurant to accommodate up to 199 patrons and serve a full line of alcohol.
The approval comes as many nearby residents have complained about the scarcity of street parking and the growing number of alcohol permits being issued to restaurants and bars on or near Sunset Boulevard. Some residents have also voiced concerns that the Echo Park neighborhood council was not able to weigh in on the plans.
But under a conditional permit approved by Associate Zoning Administrator Charles J. Rausch, Jr., Señor Fish will not have to provide 55, on-site parking spaces that would normally be required by such an expansion. Señor Fish, which moved into the former Pescado Mojado restaurant more than two years ago, will also be able to convert five of its existing parking spaces to accommodate a 59-seat dining patio.
Rausch, in his decision, noted that the restaurant at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street was going to lease parking spaces at a nearby elementary school in the evening and that there are several municipal parking lots in the vicinity. According to people who attended a public hearing last year, “parking is not a problem in the immediate area.”
Under it’s plans, Señor Fish would add a bar area and expand into a former tortilleria behind the existing restaurant. It will also be able to expand its hours until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday but will not be allowed to operate a nightclub or allow dancing.
Señor Fish was supported by a petition with 303 signatures and a letter of support by El Centro Del Pueblo, the Echo Park social service agency that has in the past voiced concern about the granting of new alcohol permits in the area. “Though they do no support the proliferation of alcohol outlets and liquor licenses in the area, they do support the applicant’s request as they are an established business in the area and a good neighbor,” according to the zoning administrator’s review of the filing.