Eagle Rock -- A Lebanese restaurant and a wood-fired bagel bakery and pizzeria are planning to open in Occidental College's new art center on York Boulevard.
The two new restaurants were selected to fill the commercial space in Oxy Arts, an arts and retail complex that opened this summer in a remodeled commercial building at York and Armadale Avenue, a short walk from the Occidental campus.
A group of college faculty, students, and administrators reviewed several proposals by prospective tenants to fill two of the building's two commercial spaces, which will generate revenue to support Oxy Arts programs and the building, said Amos Himmelstein, Occidental's chief operator officer, in a letter to community members. The group was looking for local business owners who could come up with an affordable menu and satisfy other criteria.
"We are delighted to bring two independent, community-oriented businesses that will bring delicious, affordable food to York, prepared and served by a locally hired staff," said Himmelstein. "We think these two new businesses will be good for our neighbors in the broader community and good for the College."
Occidental is one of Northeast L.A's major institutions. But its location deep inside a residential neighborhood and away from major streets means it lacks a major visible presence.
Oxy Arts on York gives the liberal arts college a foothold on York Boulevard -- which has become a destination with new restaurants, bars and shops -- and a high profile in the neighborhood.
Here is a description of the two new tenants that have signed leases with the college:
- "Chris and Daniel Skaf were in high school when they began working in the North Hollywood restaurant opened in 1999 by their parents, immigrants who left Lebanon during that country’s civil war. Their parents opened a second location in Glendale in 2007; Chris and Daniel opened Rockbird, with a backyard BBQ-inspired menu, on Colorado Boulevard in Glendale in 2017. For their as-yet-unnamed new restaurant on York, they plan a Lebanese menu—kebabs, shawarma, falafel, hummus, and so on—with plenty of vegetarian and vegan offerings."
- "Brad Kent, an Eagle Rock resident, opened Olio Pizzeria & Cafe in Los Angeles in 2010; a second location in Grand Central Market followed in 2014. (The first location closed four years ago). A graduate of USC, Cal State Long Beach and the Culinary Institute of America, Kent helped start up Blaze Pizza in 2012 and as executive chef created its menu. His York restaurant will have no connection to Olio or Blaze; he plans to offer wood-fired bagels in the morning and pizzas (by the slice and whole pies) for lunch and dinner service, with locally sourced ingredients and a number of vegan and vegetarian options."
The new restaurants are expected to open next spring depending if they secure the necessary permits.
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