The lessons learned from a Silver Lake restaurant owner

If you ever entertained thoughts about opening up your own cozy coffee house or organic pupuseria, get a reality check by talking to the owner of Silver Lake’s new restaurant called Local. Owner Jason Michaud, who is featured in an LA Times story on the perils of the restaurant permitting process, explains how he took a chance at triggering a landslide behind his restaurant by installing a city-mandated, 9,000-pound-concrete grease trap at the base of a cliff. When the cliff didn’t crumble, Michaud thought he had it made and then opened up his Sunset Boulevard restaurant. Not so fast.

Five months after opening, with city approval, inspectors are now demanding that Michaud get four, off-street parking spaces. He estimates that it will cost him $2,000 a month to lease those spaces from another property owner in addition to related fees.

“I need to find someone to rent me four spaces and hang a sign that says, ‘Parking for Local,’ ” says Michaud told the Times. “It’s a terrible, broken system, trying to open a restaurant. It devastates people.”

Michaud’s ordeal may sound familiar to the owner of other local eateries, like Delilah Bakery in Echo Park and Fidels Pizza in Highland Park. Councilman Eric Garcetti is working to streamline the system but it sounds like Michaud is on his own for now.

Photo by eclaire via Flickr

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