Sunday, October 23, 2016

Señor Fish gets approval to Super-Size its Echo Park restaurant

Echo Park, restaurants, Señor Fish

Señor Fish’s Echo Park outlet

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.

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  1. this is great news for the neighborhood. the cries over the alcohol permit are misplaced, but this quote, “according to people who attended a public hearing last year, ‘parking is not a problem in the immediate area,'” seems divorced from reality.

    if you live in echo park – i lived there for five years – you know that parking is a very big problem in the immediate area.

    • Jake, especially since El Centro Del Pueblo took an entire city parking lot that was behind Masa out of commission for their own use.

      • I would argue the area has a glut of parking, it’s just not free, and much of it isn’t being utilized properly (Angelus Temple garage sits half empty Monday thru Friday; Walgreens lot is half empty much of the evening.)

        Building more parking lots in a dense, walkable urban neighborhood is just poor land use… especially with rents going up the way they are.

        • In theory, yes.

          But providing parking for neighborhood bars is probably a low priority for Angelus Temple.

          • Echo Park resident

            I’ve always, always wished someone would do something about the Angelus parking structure. Ever since that monstrosity went up, I’ve always regarded it as some giant middle finger raised to the community. The AT folks aren’t good neighbors, no matter how many days a week they attend church.

            Whether the structure is used for “bars” or not, it’s silly and foolish of the AT to be turning way all the free money they could get from the local community by opening their lot for paid parking during events, etc. (Or, do they have enough money in donations for all those poor people they bus in from the IE every week to attend church?) The structure could be used for Dodgers games, for Echo/Echoplex event overflow or valet, for restaurant parking, for park parking (imagine during the Lotus Festival?) — lots of ideas that aren’t inherently “bar” related.

      • You do realize that El Centro Del Pueblo is used by community members (free recreational activities, mental health services, etc) so to say they’ve “taken” a parking lot for “their own use” I presume you mean put a stretch of land to recreational use by local residents.

  2. For the moment we should put aside any discussion of the restaurant and it’s bar and focus on the public process that has been side-stepped in the case at hand. The City has granted a series of variances to a business that is required to FULLY ENGAGE in the neighborhood approval process, which in this case, it did not. This sets a serious precedent that must be addressed and corrected. This business did not submit the paperwork to local neighborhood committees and showed up at meetings unprepared (by design perhaps) which resulted in further delays.

    The community has not had a chance to vet the Senior Fish application in full, make suggestions for improvements or mitigations that might be reasonable, and have an opportunity for the Planning and Land Use committee to make any formal recommendations to the Gepenc board. The Board comments customarily weigh heavily in a ZA determination– not so in this case since Senior Fish never even engaged the process.

    This is the process that is in place, and to side-step it undermines the very purpose of local advisory bodies and neighborhood organizations such as EPIA. What if every proprietor was able to operate in this fashion? What about all the other businesses that followed the guidelines and made adjustments at the request of the community? Is this a case of special treatment?

    Whatever your position is on the restaurant, bar, and it’s operations really doesn’t matter if the puic input process has been denied.

  3. The owner of SF is a terrible landlord and completely inconsiderate of his neighbors in Eagle Rock/Highland Park. His properties are terribly maintained and he has no regard for the surrounding neighborhood. Shame on him.

  4. I’m really excited about this. The food is “meh”, but there aren’t many restaurants in Echo Park with a full bar.

  5. Seems strange to expand a restaurant that always seems half full, at best? Maybe I’m not around at the peak hours, but I feel like I never see many people dining there.

  6. Dear El Centro del Pueblo,

    Will you support my application for a medical marijuana clinic? It abuts a school and doesn’t provide any parking, but it’ll be great.

    If you help me out, I promise not to bring up that city parking lot you’re sitting on.


  7. I’ve sat in a few public hearings Charles J. Rausch, Jr. presided over – I had concerns.

  8. TED the taco lover

    They couldn’t handle serving the few people that frequented the small space, how the heck will they accommodate a bigger clientele?

    • This. I go here about once a month and there’s no more than 10 people in the place every time. Still, with only 10 customers and order at the counter service now, they still manage to forget something I ordered every time I go. They should worry about filling all the tables they have there now. Also, a patio on the side where the parking spaces are? Yes, I want to be able go to Tacos Arizas when you forget my asada taco, very convenient.

      • Yeah, it’s true. The way they have the service set up is such a pain that it’s not really worth it, although the space is nice.

        This expansion makes no sense based on the small amount of business being done at this location. Unless the owners completely rethink and revamp the way service is done here, this expansion is simply going to create a bigger, emptier restaurant.

        This is not to knock the current employees, who are always upbeat and gracious. Having worked in restaurants with owners who were either great or bad, the difference was often how clearly they had thought out the service they provided. It seems like the employees could maybe use some support and direction from their owners.

        If the owner is a bad neighbor in Eagle Rock, I’m not too excited about this.

  9. Echo Park resident

    Señor Fish’s Little Tokyo station was recently closed, as the building is set for demolition to make way for a new Gold Line station. It’s worth noting that location had a full bar. Perhaps, since the City directly infringed upon that Señor Fish’s conditional use permit, someone at City Hall fast-tracked the Echo Park permit to make up for the “inconvenience.”

    Just a thought.

  10. Will 199 patrons every want to eat here at one time? Their food, like all Senior Fish’s, is less than. Also, who really needs a full bar at a burrito joint? Eat that shit with a beer and head to a decent bar for whatever drink, like you gonna get a damn Sazerac with a taco anyway.

    • “. . . who really needs a full bar at a burrito joint?” First of all, SF is not a burrito joint, pilgrim. Second, you might want to survey pedestrian traffic in why a full bar is a necessity for any business eager to cash-in on EP’s party central?

      • You’re right, SF is not a burrito joint, it’s a dump. The only thing I’m gonna survey is your mom, like i do every night, PILGRIM.

        • My 85-year-old moms sincerely appreciates the attention. She thought she had lost her groove(?!). She would like to treat you to a burger from Subway(?), you moron. Btw, you’ve just crossed the threshold from pilgrim to sicko.

    • There’s reliable speculation that it might not be Senior Fish’s intention to hold onto the location. Echo Park resident has made a good point. Senior Fish will be able to cash in handsomely on an Entitlement flip to an unknown proprietor– all done without using the public input process.

    • “…who really needs a full bar at a burrito joint…”

      Uh, for the margaritas? You’ve got a good swagger, but you didn’t think this through.

  11. One has to wonder how many free tacos and margaritas it took to bride Associate Zoning Administrator Charles J. Rausch, Jr. into approving this expansion and liquor license? Will it cost him his job? Chuck, you can’t keep dicking around the neighborhood!

    • I agree! No new development! No bars! No fun! Children live in this neighborhood, think of them! I am going to write a strongly written letter, that will show Rausch! Think of all the traffic congestion this bar will cause, we won’t be able to leave Echo Park ever again, we’re trapped!

  12. tkandthesnowbears

    Awesome! Cant wait for it to open.

  13. Sandra Figueroa Villa

    El Centro del Pueblo did not support Sr. Fish application for liquor license.

  14. I’ve been going to the original SF in Eagle Rock since the 80s. Their food is great. Still the best and most reliable fish tacos and ceviche in NELA . I was excited about the Echo Park SF until I gave it a try. It was a weekend afternoon and the place was half-filled. Our water tasted dishwater-fishy (bleh?!) and the fish tacos were mostly over-seasoned batter, A real mess. However, the combination of both did compel me to order more beer. I figure that’s the reason for wanting to bolster their liquor service. The food is that terrible.

  15. Dropped in once when they opened,,never again. ‘Forgot’ my order, when it finally arrived, ugh, mediocre/pricy/ripoff. OK, Fish–Get in line behind Chevron, Lassen’s, Little Caesars, Walgreens/the destruction of EP by overpriced, underutilized chains of crappy substandard merchandisers lookin for a quick buck. I stay faaaar away from all of ’em.

  16. This is great news!

    This way, when they go out of business (they will), whoever takes over the space will be able to utilize the full alcohol license and bring us something good!

  17. I’ve been going here a bit lately. It’s a pretty sorry Señor Fish at the moment. I took some visiting family there once and the beer was flat, there was no one there and it took eternity to get our food. Maybe they’ve just been marking time? It’s been up like a year or more, right? It feels like it’s been in a perpetual soft opening ever since it started.

  18. What?? The food is some of the worst I’ve ever had. How is this possible?

  19. Food sucks no taste

  20. My advice to Echo Park is to be very wary of any promises the owners of Sr. Fish make. We’ve had a lot of problems with them in Eagle Rock with with their restaurant and with residential rental properties that they own. When they applied for an alcohol and live entertainment permit the community had to band together and get the concession that if they were to be granted a conditional use permit to serve alcohol they would have to stop storing derelict vehicles in the restaurant parking lot, would have to stop allowing trash to pile up, and would have to stop allowing graffiti to accumulate.

    Unfortunately they have continued to allow trash and graffiti to accumulate. People in the neighborhood out of frustration again and again and again have had to report the graffiti to the City anti-graffiti service for clean up on behalf of Sr. Fish since they won’t do it them self. Recently a neighbor had to call Huizar’s office to have them arrange to have trash along the side of their restaurant picked up by the department of sanitation–specifically a dirty used mattress that was sitting along the restaurant for almost a month.

    Recently they managed to get a continuation of their original alcohol conditional use permit. Somehow they must not have needed to notify the community for the continuation. Had we been notified we would have certainly expressed our concerns again. I didn’t even see a posting at the location for the conditional use extension and definitely didn’t get anything in the mail. Had a notice been posted I would have seen it since I walk by the restaurant almost every day and if not me one of my neighbors would have.

    They got dinged in the extension for having seating in a side area they weren’t supposed to have seating. They also have outdoor amplified music/outdoor parties on occasion which I believe is something they aren’t supposed to do and as mentioned above don’t clean up the graffiti.

    I don’t think anyone would mind the alcohol license or even the expanded outdoor seating and occasional parties if they weren’t such slobs and overall inconsiderate neighbors.

    I only hope a child doesn’t fall off of the patio where the railing has fallen off or that the dead tree on Norwalk doesn’t fall over onto someone. It would be nice if they would do something about the graffiti that is currently up down and all around the mini billboard at the front.

  21. I am surprised that El Centro del Pueblo backed this plan. I am also surprised at the fact that they stated “parking is not a problem in the immediate area.” Where are these people living? under a rock? PARKING IS A PROBLEM especially for most apartment residents.

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