New Highland Park restaurant to fill a void on York Boulevard

Recess Eatery | Katrina Alexy

Recess Eatery | Katrina Alexy

HIGHLAND PARK –   When Hervey Chapman died in early 2011, he left behind the Verdugo Pet Shop in the middle of a block that would become ground zero of gentrifying York Boulevard. After cats were rescued from the shuttered store, it would take many more months before Chapman’s estate was settled and the space cleaned out and put up for sale. Then more months passed before the new landlord was able to line up a tenant, who originally planned to open a restaurant in the fall of 2014. But you know how that goes. (Does any new restaurant in L.A. open on time?)

Now, five years after the Verdugo Pet Shop closed, the same storefront —  its brick facade restored and the interior opened up to reveal a soaring wood ceiling —  is preparing to reopen on Monday as Recess Eatery.

Will it have been worth the wait? Highland Park will find out Monday.

The Verdugo Pet Shop in 2011

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  1. Needs more vegetarian options.

    • no, it doesn’t.

    • I agree that it needs more vegetarian options and maybe meal options that aren’t so pricey. It seems a little optimistic to be asking 15-20 for a salad.

      • Ew, wouldn’t expect less from a restaurant with another location in GLENDALE.

        The prices are laughable. Eater says it’s going to compete with the York? Doubt it. The York doesn’t have the balls to charge $20 for a brunch plate. Menu looks outdated and snobby, and they’re not fooling anyone trying to charge $15+ for appetizers and salads!

        • the york also has shitty food

        • I guess you’re one of those people that treat unfamiliar food the way many treat unfamilair new people, unfamiliar ethnic groups and new unfamiliar neighbors — With great suspicion?!

          It’s a new restaurant, not ISIS.

          How does a menu “look snobby?” A menu can’t be snobby. Words on a menu can’t be snobby. FOOD can’t be snobby. Only people can. (Might want to check the mirror.)

          Try new food. Try new restaurants. Try new things.

  2. In the middle of NOWHERE, good luck!

  3. They have done an amazing job bringing that gorgeous building back to life, uncovering the original bones , and celebrating the beauty and history of both the exterior and interior. We welcome business owners such as these and look forward to visiting as soon as it opens!

  4. Stop gentrification

    Oh wait it’s nice, surrounded by bars, right? Yes that’s the best part of new gentrified highland park, all the bars. Clowns.

    • You are the clown.. And your posts are generated by fear.. It’s actually quite funny how in denial you are.. Wishful thinking…

  5. A lot if crime in hlp, they found another dead body at the park yesterday

  6. Any Journalists around? Can you please write the story why it takes two years to open a restaurant in LA?
    Raman Noodle in Eagle Rock is another one and they took over an existing restaurant. They were to open in summer.

  7. Sad what the neighborhood has turned into. Who can afford a salad for 15-20 ??
    Bring back the Dragon Bar!
    Free Chinese food and inexpensive beer!

    HLP sucks now.

  8. I wish them the best, but to be honest it seems rather culturally insensitive to be opening a new restaurant on York Blvd. with such a meat intensive menu. I worry that they might be accustomed to serving the less sophisticated tastes of their current Glendale cliental and haven’t made the effort to get to know the tastes of the Highland Park denizen.

    • this is one of the dumbest critiques i have ever seen of a restaurant. there are half a dozen explicitly vegetarian dishes on their menu and probably half a dozen more that can be made vegetarian to order.

      i mean it would be one thing if they were like father’s office and offered only non-veg stuff and refused modficiations – but they don’t, and there’s nothing on the menu saying you can’t ask them to hold the basturma or whatever.

  9. Regarding building permits slowing down the process of opening a business, the irony is the Los Angeles building department is so dysfunctional they have, I have read, at least a six month lag time from when they might receive a report of a violation to the time they ever get around to sending an inspector. Without permits slowing them down a business can easily do a complete build out within six months so if someone does happen to report them (which I can’t imagine is likely) the work will be finished and the contractor gone by the time an inspector ever makes it out there and then the business just has to deny having done any construction work. There really isn’t much for a business to loose with this approach.

    One of the long open restaurants in Eagle Rock on Eagle Rock Blvd. has been undergoing a rather extensive exterior expansion and interior remodel while remaining in operation seemingly without permits for months now and it doesn’t look they they have gotten into any sort of trouble with the city. The work is definitely proceeding more quickly than at any of the other restaurants nearby such as Raman Noodles and a couple others on Colorado Blvd. that I assume are doing work with permits.

    • The big part of the slowdown is “false reports” from other restaurants and bars, with the intention of slowing them down.
      I GUARANTEE the York and Highland Cafe and every restaurant and bar up and down the street, complained anonymously with Building & Safety and the Health Department. Other businesses don’t welcome competition without a dirty fight.

  10. You all complain too much about everything all the time.

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