BY JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
ELYSIAN VALLEY — Until recently, when it came to eating out in the neighborhood, locals just had one choice: Rick’s Drive-In & Out burger stand. Now, Elysian Valley, aka Frogtown, has a few more places to eat out and more are planning to opening soon.
Late last year, Wax Paper Co., a sandwich shop that names its sandwiches after public radio hosts, opened at the corner of Knox and Blake avenues. Then Salazar, a sprawling outdoor Mexican restaurant, opened its doors earlier this year in a former auto body shop on Fletcher Drive and Ripple Street. Nearby, Elysian, a special event dining space, has been expanding its hours to the public.
Now, two more restaurants aim to have their grand openings this year.
Zebulon, a restaurant and live entertainment venue, is bringing a bit of New York City to Frogtown. Singer-songwriter Mia Todd, her husband Jesse Peterson, and partner Jean-Francois Soubiran, are collaborating to recreate the former NYC performance venue that closed a few years ago.
The new Zebulon will be located on Fletcher Drive right next door to Salazar. The owners are in the process of finishing up construction and aim to open up in the fall.
“I grew up around the block from the building,” Todd said. “I was really familiar with the area and being close to the river is really special. I’ve seen the neighborhood transforming.”
The 5,000-square-foot space will serve drinks as well as food while guests will be able to dance, watch jazz shows, film screenings and other performances.
“I’m excited for the musicians from LA to perform there and a place for people to meet,” Todd said. “We are planning to have it open during the day as a café, and I definitely think there is a need for more restaurants in the neighborhood.”
A few blocks away off of Coolidge Avenue, Spoke Bicycle Café is preparing to expand its food operations and serve beer and wine right on the LA River Path. Owners Richard Latronica and Laurie Winston chose the location because it’s one of the only areas along the path that is suited for businesses.
“We have a big outdoor area that is perfect for groups. We like Frogtown and live nearby and like the idea of providing a place for people to meet their neighbors,” said Winston.
The café, which is also a bike shop, currently hosts repair clinics, safe ride workshops, community yoga classes, and art and music events on the weekends. Until construction is finished, Spoke is only open Thursday through Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm.
Currently, the espresso bar is only open on the weekends. Aside from bagels and blended drinks, they also serve Coolhaus ice cream and baked goods from Cake Monkey and Happy Cow Kitchen.
They’re in the process of getting a beer and wine permit, which would allow them to extend hours.
“We decided to serve beer and wine because there is a need and desire in the community, because we would like to highlight local brewers and wineries, because good beer and wine is delicious, and because we think it will enhance the dining experience at our restaurant,” said Winston.
Jacqueline Fernandez is a Los Angeles-based reporter who’s written for various media outlets such as Los Angeles Wave, The Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News.
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