Monday, October 24, 2016

Storefront Report: Señor Fish wants a larger portion of the Echo Park restaurant and bar scene

Señor Fish wants to double space by expanding into back building and parking lot.

Only 13 months after it opened an Echo Park outlet, Mexican restaurant  Señor Fish  is now seeking city permission to nearly double its space and become one of the neighborhood’s largest restaurants in part by getting rid of its small parking lot.

The small restaurant chain at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street would be able to seat 199 patrons if allowed to expand into a former tortilleria behind the existing restaurant and convert five parking spaces into a patio, according to a notice of a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 25.  In addition to adding more seating,  Señor Fish  is also seeking city permission to expand its beer and wine license to sell a full line of alcohol.   The public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, June 25, at 9:30 a.m.

While Echo Park’s restaurant and bar scene and expanded in recent years, so have complaints about a lack of street parking.  Señor Fish wants the city’s Planning Department to waive the 55 parking spaces that would be required by its larger seating area.

The first Señor Fish opened in 1988 as a small fish taco and seafood stand on Figueroa Street in Highland Park. That stand closed but the family opened outlets in other communities, including Eagle Rock, downtown Los Angeles and Duarte.

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  1. ugh, it’s ALWAYS about parking in this silly city. People can just walk/bus/bike/anything but drive there…

  2. Blech, I’ve never liked Senor Fish at any of their sites I’ve tried…I miss Pescdo Mojado.

    • Damn really? I grew on Pescado Mojado; it wasn’t great it wasn’t awful, but really? To each their own but your taste buds are tripping.

  3. @josh: I love to bike/ walk whenever I can, but the fact is, many people still need a car to make life work in LA. I would be fine with Senor Fish having less parking, as long as there was a way to mitigate impacts on other local businesses. ie if Senor Fish was only allowed to serve the number of patrons with cars that they provide parking for; however, this is impossible to enforce.

    People will just pilfer spots from Walgreens

    • How often is the Walgreens parking lot full? I don’t live right there, so I don’t see that lot especially often. But many parking lots are full only at a couple times of day, and largely empty at others. If Walgreens and Senor Fish have different peak hours, then it would be a waste of land for them *not* to share the parking lot.

    • The continued coddling of auto drivers is just too expensive. The suggestion that a business cannot expand unless the car is accommodated is one sure-fire way to arrest the growth of a vibrant city. Even more importantly than that, Echo Park we must realize was not designed around the automobile. It is a streetcar neighborhood in its essence and although can accommodate the automobile as it did the horse and buggy before it, its strengths rely on its walkability, its center piece which is Echo Park and its intact main commercial corridor along Sunset that thankfully was mostly preserved save for the suburban Walgreens eyesore. If we want to retain the charm of streetcar neighborhoods around LA like Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz etc. we must refrain from destroying them in a futile quest to accommodate the automobile. If anything will destroy these fragile areas it will be the providing of more space for cars that will inevitably only bring more cars that will eventually only be solved by making even more space for cars that will inevitably only bring more cars that will…

  4. their service is bad enough as it is, and that area is lacking in parking. This is a horrible idea.

  5. Two points. Senor fish does not seem to be thriving the few times I’ve visited. Maybe I’ve been there on non-representative nights, but my guess is they think that more space would make them more appealing. If this is their thinking and they are wrong, there will be a large building to fill when they go out of business. This reduces the range of potential future renters and increases chances that the building remains vacant longer. Neither is good for any area. On the other hand, wasting the valuable space where Senor Fish’s parking lot is located is unnecessary. The City/Echo Park could instead eliminate street parking and adjacent small lots, make neighborhood parking unavailable to non-residents and build a multi level free parking structure where the current meter lot is located to handle demand. Business could expand the sidewalks for outdoor seating and the change would encourage commerce and public transit use, improve traffic in the area, and eliminate the dangerous and detering parked car-bike lane-traffic dynamic.

    • This would be great, if we could somehow raise the money to build such a parking structure. Since parking is obviously so valuable, and since parking structures are so expensive to build (at least $10,000 per space, and often much more if the structure isn’t able to take advantage of a huge rectangular plot of land), the neighborhood can’t afford to give it away for free. One possibility is to have each business in the neighborhood pay a monthly or annual fee to support it. Another possibility is to just have the lot charge market rates, so that only the people who choose to drive to the neighborhood and increase local congestion pay for the cost of their actions.

      • You think the businesses in EP are only supported by people who are in walking distance? What a foolish comment.

        • Isn’t local and local adjacent patronage what we want? Or are we marketing ourselves as a regional commercial district? If it’s the latter then yes, we would need to build a parking structure, increase residential density and also attract Triple A commercial retail like Jamba Juice, Starbucks and Subways along the main commercial corridor since that’s how regional commercial/entertainment districts are supported like Pasadena Old Town and Glendale. If we are not shooting to become the next Americana, then the parking is sufficient since the lack of it creates a natural cap on the neighborhood as to how many cars will be accommodated. It also forces those that are frustrated with the parking situation to cab it, carpool it or bus it in as I see patrons stumbling into cabs nightly on the weekends. Don’t ask for what you don’t want.

          • Fallopia, the commercial district of EP is on Sunset blvd. which is a major artery in the city. Also, Alameda, Glendale blvd. etc. EP is not Montrose or some other little city tucked away somewhere. Not everyone is coming into EP to party, so expecting people to cab is unreasonable and expensive. Also, your exclusivity is showing.

          • Alvarado, I meant.

          • Cabs can be expensive but are used in cities all over the world. If you can’t afford a cab then our public transit system is $1.50 a ride, one of the lowest on the continent if not the THE lowest fare outside of DF. EP is graciously served by the 2,4,302 and 704 which all connect with longer distance modes.

  6. 5 spots… Why are we even talking about this? There’s tons of metered parking in the area and it’s rarely full.

    Free parking in the city, is anything but… it wastes limited urban space, raises the cost of goods and services, induces more car trips than necessary, etc. The city should reduce parking requirements within a 1/4 mile of major transit stops (there’s buses up and down Sunset every 5-10 minutes.)

    • Oh, 55… I misread that. Seems absurd for a restaurant on Sunset.

    • Here here! If parking really is an issue, let a private developer build a lot or structure. Why should the government get involved with helping people park their cars that they bought in the private market? The public option is provided along Sunset in the form of the 2, 302 limited, 4(runs 24 hours) and the 704 overlay. All of those buses connect to light rail, subway(both of those run until 2am on the weekends) and commuter rail if you wanted to go further. More parking just invites more cars. Please expand with no additional parking.

  7. If parking will become a hassle, they should look into the parking credit program established in Atwater and Eagle Rock to maintain the character of the street, meaning that buildings are at the sidewalk. The Walgreens is an example of what the City’s suburban parking rules create.

    I’m not familiar with Angeles Temple’s community efforts, other than their clean-up crews, but their parking structure and the Citibank Building they own across the street can offset the parking requirements.

    I do see the structures being used for church events, and often for the Echoplex, but this might be a private agreement between the two. We should elevate the discussion to a public agreement and share underutilized parking for different uses.

    • Echo Park resident

      Our “friendly” neighbors at the Angelus Temple currently do NOT allow the Echoplex (or anyone else, for that matter) to use their parking structure. It’s for their use and their use alone. When church isn’t in session, that ugly eyesore sits completely empty.

      • Just for your knowledge, Angelus Temple spend money to built this parking and not only that but their congregations, maintain the structure building. I don’t understand why they have to share the parking with Echoplex, who doesn’t support the neighborhood, instead the streets are filthy and all kind of crime has been committed after they leave, I seen personally, young women drunk, removing their clothes, on the sidewalks of the street and all kind of show.
        Sorry but your comment doesn’t make sense. Ugly eyesore but still your eyes catch it ha.

  8. Ted The Exterminator

    The service is already slow and terrible when they’re at 5% capacity.
    The organization and food at the Senor Fish location at 1st and Alameda is great so not sure why this location comes off like its run by amateurs.

    • Silver Lake resident

      Totally agree. I’ve given this location two separate chances — and each time both the food and the service is mediorce. Not to mention, Senior Fish is just way too expensive given the quality of the food; there are much better options both at the same price point AND for cheaper within walking distance. I’d rather forgo the “dining in” experience to eat at Tacos Arizas next door.

      I’ve never seen this place with more than two or three tables filled. They don’t need more space — they need a complete overhaul.

  9. I like Senor Fish in Eagle Rock and Little Tokyo, but something about this location doesn’t feel right. It’s way too dark inside, the service is not good, and it somehow doesn’t feel like it’s part of the neighborhood. The actual food was not too different, but something is lacking here. Maybe some Echo Park-ers think that it’s some corporate chain and is avoiding it?

  10. The owner of Senor Fish owns some rental houses down the street form me in Eagle Rock. He is a horrible landlord and keeps those houses in very poor shape. Additionally he is completely insensitive to the complaints of the neighborhood regarding the behavior of his tenants. I refuse to patronize any of his restaurants. He’s a real jerk, IMO.

    • Interesting, but not surprising, given the run down character of the ER Senor Fish. (It never really bothered me, but I also don’t go there much.) Mind saying if the apts are on Norwalk around the E.R. Senor Fish, or somewhere farther away?

  11. Are they hoping alcohol will boost their business? First they need to fix the food. Senor Fish in Eagle Rock is delicious so it’s baffling to me this one can’t get the food right. The service stinks too. No one is ever there and it still takes forever to get a taco. I don’t see how this place can possibly stay in business, tequila or no tequila. The expansion will only benefit whatever restaurant lands there next.

  12. This location is my favorite Senor Fish. He is someone I consider a responsible business person who cares about the community his businesses are in. He contributes frequently to causes. I hope that he is able to expand his business. We have had meetings there, and sometimes end early, because it gets very crowded on many nights. I personally love his very fresh menu. He is a welcome addition to our community.

    • @Sandra

      Boy oh boy, if this were a comment posted on YELP, it would be FILTERED out as inauthentic.

      Gonna have to be less obvious next time… eeesh

    • Mrs. Fish I presume?

      Since you’re here: the food at your joint is abysmal and service is non-existent. Look past the empty tables and out your window. See the Tacos Arizas truck? You should try it sometime.

    • Echo Park resident

      Hey “Sandra” — I dunno who “he” is (Jesus? Senor Fish himself? Some clarification would be nice!) but you must admit you’re a suspiciously positive comment in a sea of complaints. Senior Fish isn’t a “welcome” part of our community because no one from the community seems to frequent the restaurant in the first place. I’m seriously laughing at your comment that you always see the restaurant “filled” with customers; what time of day is Senior Fish fill? Please tell me — because as a nearby resident, I walk by often and never see more than 2-3 tables occupied on a weekend evening. Even Xoia and Happy Tom’s see more business than Senior Fish on a Friday night.

  13. I’m usually the last one to complain about parking but common not only does he want to wave the 55 spots the city requires he wants to remove the only 5 spots he has. Making a city more walkable does not mean letting people build anything they want with absolutely no consideration to parking. That’s not good urban planning.

    • Agreed but you don’t create a walkable city by promoting car dependency either. Besides Echo Park is already walkable so just leave alone.

      • Asking that a business that is required to have 55 spaces to have at least some parking isn’t creating car dependency in the slightest. Its not just about this business FYI building without any parking consideration just isnt responsible. You cant completely give on business a pass then pass the problem along to the next poor sap. We al gotta give and take a little and this guy doesnt want to give anything.

  14. i never see this place crowded, with a line, or looking in anyway ‘busy’…there’s no reason for them to expand….also i like to have places to park that are in walking distance of where I live, so the fact that they want to remove the four private spots they own seems retarded, their employees should at least have a place to park that doesn’t encroach on my street parking.

  15. Scholaris @ blame game/Your Conscience/Stupid Cholo @ EXP

    I am gonna park my whip at the Walgreens parking lot and eat tacos from the “taco truck”, end of problems!
    Sincerely “Stupid Cholo”,

    P.S Oh, and go across the street, so I can buy a 24 ounce!

  16. I went there once when they opened,having had a good experience in the past at the SF in ER. Half an hour later they had “forgotten”my order, didn’t try to make it right, and whoops, out the door went I, never to return. I am more than happy with Ariza, or mo’ bettah, RODEO! The absolute last thing we need there is a huge, empty SF full of drunks whooping it up. And sucking up all the parking, no less.

  17. This guy’s a creep. He owns two run down houses and an empty lot on my street. Rents the houses to Oxy students every year who are always throwing ragers and disturbing the long term residents and grows the produce he serves at his restaurants on the empty lot. I believe that he could care less about the community.

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