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Chipotle coming to Echo Park as part of 1,300-seat restaurant complex at Sunset and Alvarado [updated]

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Mohawk Collective under construction

By BARRY LANK

ECHO PARK —  At least eight restaurants — including a Chipotle  — with as many as 1,300 indoor and outdoor seats combined are slated for the new restaurant-and-retail center at Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado Street. The developers are also seeking city permits to serve alcohol at the new complex, which would dramatically increase the neighborhood’s dining and drinking scene.

The new development — Mohawk Collective — is replacing several businesses that were closed last spring, including Lucy’s coin-laundry and Wells Tile & Antiques. An application was filed with the city last week to sell alcohol from at at least eight restaurants — including including beer-and-wine licenses for some of the restaurants, and “a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site and off-site consumption at two existing restaurants.” The increase in the number of places that serve alcohol along Sunset has raised concerns among some residents in recent years.

The Eastsider tried to double-check the figures in the application and obtain more details from the developers of Mohawk Collective but received no response. However, Chipotle’s public relations and communications manager, Danielle Moore, said Chipotle will be opening a restaurant some time in the second quarter of next year.

It’s not clear whether Starbucks, which once operated in the Lucy’s laundry building, will return to the block, where the developer is renovating four buildings.  The Mohawk Collective does not include Zach Pollack’s new Italian restaurant, which is opening in the old Pizza Buona space on the same block.

Update: A Starbucks spokesperson said the company will reopen its Echo Park outlet next spring in the newly remodeled complex. “We’re always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers and are happy to be returning to the community.”

Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.

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51 comments

  1. Chipotle?! With all the great Mexican food in the neighborhood I dont know why anyone would want this crap.

    • Would love to know where all the great Mexican food spots are in Echo Park. The taco trucks are hit and miss, but Guisados is the only quality spot that comes to mind and that’s closer to downtown. Señor Fish is a poorly managed dump, El Compadre is ok for drinks and chips, but the food is nothing special.

      • Burrito King is at least as good as Chipotle and will probably be visible from this location. If it’s good enough for the Flying Burrito Brothers, it’s good enough for me.

        • Flaming Taco is the best taco truck in Echo Park. Burrito King is horrible. Guisados is good if you like really thick corn tortillas (homemade but not a fan). Not going to Chipotle but would rather have that than all the other fast food places that still exist.

        • Burrito King is horrible.

          Chipotle isn’t very good but you know what you’re going to get every time, that’s the appeal of chain restaurants.

      • West of Alvarado+Sunset, where Sunset curves down to Silver Lake there is a stand in front of the graffiti wall. It’s great and pretty consistent. Then again you are comparing trucks to Guisados. Guisados in next level!

    • Chipotle is not the issue here. 1,300 seats is!!! This developer, as far as I know, did not perform a traffic study for the intensified use that is going into the location vs what existed before. So if patrons can’t park, or valets can’t lease spots (hello angelus temple!!) what kind of businesses will be able to survive here?

      As for your property values going up because you live close by… Sure, until you & your neighbor’s live in fear of moving your street-parked cars because patrons/valets have monopolized all the spots. You can tell your visiting friends to valet over at Mohawk…

      Hopefully EPNC will use the alcohol licensing process as a way of leveraging a real traffic and parking plan. Cluster___ in the making.

      • “Street parked cars”?? Haha, if I can afford to own a house, you think I would dare park my car on the street? This is not an issue for people at my income level.

      • HA! I guess you haven’t noticed that the most attractive, lively and prosperous parts of Sunset are the ones without any parking lots… I live nearby and was disappointed to learn that the central “courtyard” would actually become a damn parking lot. So much potential for that location to host an amazing communal area for the patrons of these future eateries.

        The problem with you old timer, car-dependent Angelenos is assuming that places are only accessible to those with vehicles. There are literally 7 different bus lines within .25 mile (4 right across the street!) and thousands of residents within walking distance .75 miles. If you’re dying to come up from whatever desolate suburban housing tract you live in without worrying about parking, then take an uber so you can satisfy your insatiable need for a chipotle burrito.

        Please stop acting like your rights are being stripped away because you cant find room to park your vehicle, that’s the same vehicle dependency that begat our notoriously awful air quality, our visually displeasing cityscape, our unaffordable / unsustainable building requirements etc. Stop worrying about what business will survive, let the market decide how much parking and useful land must be wasted to park cars and simultaneously destroy any semblance of a public realm.

        • I’ll see you at the EPNC meetings then? Yeah, I didn’t think so. If you put down the Koolaid for a moment, you just might realize that cars aren’t going away and these prospective business owners will advocating for spaces because their success depends on it.

          • … I guess I’m closer to Mitch’s office than you realize. I’ll be waving at ya Deines! Until then, stop assuming your failed ideologies and flawed planning logic are shared with the minds of CURRENT business owners, they know damn well what they’re getting themselves into and if their business fails because they don’t want to waste precious space on parking vehicles, destroying intimacy, ruining design character and perpetuating car dependency, we can have you standing by to say “I told ya so!”

      • Chipotle’s gross… but a traffic study to open a restaurant on Sunset? You can’t be serious.

    • bathing at baxter

      I eat there as part of my pre-colonoscopy prep. It’s a good clean-out.

    • I love the veggie burrito at Flamin Taco. No sour cream and add cotija chesse. Delicious.

  2. As much as I love neighborhood improvement, Chipotle coming to your neighborhood makes me really really sad. It’s the end of an era. I will still be going to Leo’s and Taco Zone and support local Mexican spots. Hopefully, they won’t make money and they will evenutally close.

    • Sure, Chipotle is a national chain, but it’s going in where there used to be a Subway. It’s not gonna tip the scale in terms of chain/independent business ratio, and it certainly isn’t the end of an era.

      Plus Chipotle is actually pretty tasty when you’re in the mood for it. If not, there are still many other great options in the area for Mexican food.

  3. I’m conflicted on this.. one one hand, as others said, plenty of great “actual” mexican food around here… but on the other, I actually really like chipotle and I like that they use organic ingredients.

    Anyway, I am hoping for more independent businesses to spring up in this development soon rather then chains. But either way my property values will keep going up so…

    • Look on one hand Chipotle isn’t a traditional taco truck or El compadre but is anyone really sad that dumpy ass starbucks/subway/laundrymat is gone?

      The great thing is if you don’t like Chipotle you have SO MANY alternative options for your burrito and taco needs.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly excited for this development to be done. My property values are through the roof already because I live nearby it. But I always hope for independent businesses because I prefer them. But if none work out I will still be okay. However with all these restaurants planned to move in, surely one or two of them will be independents? I want this street to be more like Sunset Junction, not Glendale Galleria.

      • Yes, actually. Those of us who need to use a laundry mat. There aren’t that many in the neighborhood.

  4. Could anyone really be that sad that a Chipotle is replacing a Subway?

  5. The bigger issue is that the rents being asked by property owners are only going to attract national chains! Of course, they have the right to ask whatever prices they want. Just like the community can support or not support the businesses that pay those rents.

    Glad to see that Tomato Pie put Z Pizza out of business in Silver Lake/Los Feliz. Not happy that Jersey Mike’s replace Z Pizza. Well, they are suppose to, but last time I was in the area, they still weren’t open! I don’t think there is a coffee shop along that stretch of Hyperion, but I hope that Starbucks goes out of business there soon!

    • There’s plenty of upscale independent bars and restaurants paying even higher rent in Silver Lake and Los Feliz and West Hollywood. Just have to work hard to attract the ride kind of businesses.

    • too much coffee man

      lots of coffee options right there (say cheese, gelsons, square one) and more down the street (lyric, broome st, nanas)

  6. This is like that time they tried to open a Red Lobster in Maine…

  7. I’ve been hearing for years that Chipotle was looking to locate near the Silver Lake junction shopping district. While apparently that didn’t exactly pan out this seems like a great location for them. I say mazel tov to Chipotle and to Echo Park property owners.

  8. I’m excited for this development but chipotle is exactly the wrong addition if you’re trying to avoid the stigma of gentrification. There are many established Mexican restaurants that already exist and this corporate chain will adversely affect those businesses. A yogurt land however would be awesome. Still corporate, but no competition nearby unless you count kind Kreme. Bleh.
    Similar but differently, I was happy to see a lot of dated and redundant businesses shutter over the last 2 years and I kept wondering why there were still 4 hair salons/barbers within 2 blocks of my house. Suddenly I see a floyds barber shop pop up. It seems to basically be saying there aren’t enough barbershops for non hispanics. I’m all for updating the neighborhood and adding services that people want but one would hope it doesn’t trampled Le on existing businesses.
    As for the traffic impact, the longer I live in LA, the more I am resigned to never leaving my neighborhood and only walking everywhere. The city was not designed to accommodate this much parking but I don’t want to stagnate growth because of it. Just want to get smarter about public and personal transport

  9. Thanks, Eastsider, for keeping us informed about our neighborhood, and providing a forum for discussion!

  10. Is this that development company with the culturally insensitive logo? Wouldn’t surprise me….

  11. I can’t believe these comments. This neighborhood is being gobbled by itself. and the rents this development is asking for, there is no way any small business could afford to go in. SO it will be filled with corporate businesses. We did not move to echo park to patron these types of chain establishments. Not to mention their borrowing of native American imagery for their logo. They don’t get the neighborhood. I have owned a neighborhood small business for ten years. Places like this = the death of all the surrounding small businesses. Good bye echo park, Those of you worried about your parking and property values…I’m shaking my head.

    • You’re afraid of change and you’re blaming development as the purveyor. Hopefully you’ll understand that change isn’t always supported, but it’s going to happen with or without you. It honestly baffles me how residents of any city expect them to stay the same forever. There isn’t a single metropolis in history that’s avoided change. You’re better off directing change, rather than impeding it. Get involved.

      Let me remind you that ALL of the chains in echo park existed PRE-gentrification, (jack n the box, burger king, Taco Bell/ KFC, Dominos, McDonalds, Subway, and 7Eleven) they’ve all been here since before the barrage of mustache outfitted, coffee drinking biker crowd entered the neighborhood. Coincidentally, there hasn’t been a single chain added to the neighborhood since the changes started to occur. If we end up with just a Chipotle, we’ll actually be down a chain after removing Subway and Starbucks from the same location!

  12. I don’t care about Chipotle. I just want an Olive Garden to move in.

  13. How in the hell does garbage like this get approved? I suspect pay-offs. This is TOTALLY out of scale and character with the neighborhood. This is NOT how Echo Park rolls!.

    • Seriously – It makes no sense

    • Was subway “in character”? Maybe you’re implying only cheap fast food is “in character” and upscale pricier fast food is out of character?

    • I think the footprint of the storefronts are the same as before…so the scale remains the same. Plus it’s not like the Lucy’s building gave Echo Park any kind of character, in fact it was one of the ugliest buildings in the area, with its cheap crayon colors and chain store signage.

    • the building’s footprint and FAR have not changed…

      TOTALLY the exact same building with brick veneer, awnings and revised floor plans.

  14. TheEntireCountryisGentrifying

    I loved the Lucy’s building! It was a gorgeous old bank with Subway colored greenish yellow fencing. It’s where I went when I wanted to get Starbucks and Subway while having little screaming kids running around me as I watched people washing their clothes in 1960s washers. The laundry Mat took pesos too! Nothing screams gentrification like the neighborhood becoming nicer! I wish they would open up another laundry Matt , install more green fencing. Only then will I feel ok that the neighborhood is becoming more like the rest of the country.

  15. The marketplace will shake out what can be supported or not in the neighborhood. Customers will.either eat there or not. Shop at new retail or not. It would have been nice if it were a local chain or small business that is expanding into more than one location like eggslslut.. time will tell if people want Chipotle or Tacos Arizas hopefully there’s room for both.

  16. Rodeo Grill. Good price, wonderful people, perfectly fine food. Never stepped foot in Chipotle, never will.

  17. mariela’s tacos is good food better than chipotle i know that for sure i have been in living in echo park since for quite some time now and i would not agree with all the changes but some changes are good for the neighborhood i remember as i kid i could not walk around the lake at night be on sunset i just hope for the best i do wish more local small restaurants would open up i love mohawk-bend great food not going to lie lets just say i used to buy pioneer chicken and go shop at pioneer market good times as a kid and of course buying shoes at crown shoes miss those days good memories

  18. This is the company coming in and a bit of history of what they have done: http://www.continentaldevelopmentgroup.com/
    This is where theya re coming: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-tavana/the-best-neighborhood-in_b_4534451.html

    You decide and be at the TOWN HALL tomorrow.

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