Shopper and Diner collage

Here’s your weekly rundown of Eastside dining and shopping news.

Looking for a cool mask? Laura S. Howe of Matrushka Construction boutique in Silver Lake has your face covered, so to speak. After closing the boutique due to the COVID-19 shutdown, she has taken to using scrap and donated fabric to create the face masks, Los Angeles Times reports. More than 8,000 masks have been made, 400 plus of which have been donated to L.A. City park rangers, a clink in Bell Gardens, a correctional facility, among others.

Is the story of Stories Books & Café in Echo Park almost over? After 12 years in business, co-owner Alex Maslansky said the business has “really only a couple of weeks” as he continues to wait for a critical Paycheck Protection Program loan, he told the L.A. Times. “The support from everyone has been extremely touching and incredibly helpful,” said Maslansky. But, “even with that, it’s just not enough.”

The pandemic has not scared off a few brave restaurant owners from opening on the Eastside, The Eastsider reports. Michelle Serafin and Claire Risoli follow the motto, “Do it scared” when it came to opening Pocha, a modern Mexican restaurant, in Highland Park. Chris Register of the freshly launched Plants + Animals in Eagle Rock is inspired by his “own personal journey.” He opened the keto-based restaurant after his experience of losing eighty pounds while on the diet. Then there’s Misty Mansouri, who has dedicated her 30-year career in hospitality to making money for others, and now, she aims to make money for herself with Lady Byrd Cafe in Elysian Heights. Pocha L.A. is at 6101 York Blvd in Highland Park; ; Plants + Animals is at 1743 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock; Lady Byrd Cafe is at 2100 Echo Park Ave. in Elysian Heights.

The coffee and ink will soon be flowing in one of Echo Park's stranger mash-ups: A combination tattoo parlor and coffee house. That's the concept behind Supersweet, which is expected to open by May in a newly remodeled Glendale Boulevard storefront next to Ms. Donut. If Supersweet stays on schedule, it will open around the same time as the new Starbucks drive-thru located on the opposite corner of Glendale Boulevard in the former KFC. Supersweet will be at 1345 Glendale. Starbucks will be at 1400 Glendale.

Elf Cafe is holding an online fundraiser to help its staff get through the pandemic. "We know that we are not the only ones facing difficulties right now, but please consider sharing if you are able," said an appeal on the restaurant's GoFundMe page. "It will take a community to get each other through this." The Echo Park restaurant's fundraiser has raised more than $3,000 so far.

Erin Tavin has closed her Tavin Boutique after 11 years on Echo Park Avenue. "Our lease was up for renewal in April and our decision, while a very difficult one, is in response to both the covid-19 pandemic & the ongoing construction on the block which will continue into 2023," said a post on Tavin's Instagram. "Please stay safe, stay at home & stay strong, we will all get through this together as a community." Tavin, who lives in Elysian Heights, will continue to sell her shop's "vintage bohemian and Gypset lifestyle" clothing online. 

Eastside Guides

Eastside Guide: Neighborhood Restaurants & Businesses

Neighborhood businesses need your support during the pandemic. Shop local whenever possible.

Cecilia Padilla-Brill is a communications writer and journalist. She writes news, health, education and feature stories. Cecilia is currently working on her first novel. She has lived in Echo Park since 1999.

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