Our Ventura Blvd - Our Ventura Blvd February-March 2017

Psy Burger Gets Seriously Creative in Sherman Oaks Plaza

Psy Burger’s kebab burger is a thing of beauty. [Joshua Lurie]No, Psy Burger isn’t named for the K-Pop star behind “Gangnam Style.” Instead, this psychedelic burger establishment replaced Sababa Kosher Grill and our short-time favorite Ventura Blvd Grill in Sherman Oaks Plaza to start March. Uzi Weizman and co-chef/partner Eran Sabag are longtime friends from Haifa, Israel. Both young men…

Stanley’s 2.0 Ready for Debut

Stanley’s 2.0 has a more modern look. [Joshua Lurie]Sherman Oaks lost a beloved restaurant when Stanley’s closed in 2015 after a 32-year run on Ventura Boulevard. Locals can rejoice this week as owner Greg Sadofsky re-opens Stanley’s just south of the Boulevard in Fab’s former home, just one mile from the original location. Greg wanted to keep Stanley’s local, saying,…

SOCA Builds on Boneyard Bistro Success in Sherman Oaks

SOCA is a stylish replacement for Cafe Cordiale. [Michele Gomez]Chef-owner Aaron Robins and GM-partner Rory Snipes have built on the success of beer, bourbon and barbecue-fueled Boneyard Bistro by opening SOCA, a second Sherman Oaks, CAlifornia restaurant that captures more global influences and replaces Café Cordiale. “I opened SOCA for many reasons,” says Aaron. “I was ready to grow, and…

Adam Horton Amps Up Saddle Peak Lodge Bar Menu

For the first time, Saddle Peak Lodge serves a burger. [Joshua Lurie]Saddle Peak Lodge, a former hunting lodge that’s been the culinary crown jewel of the Santa Monica Mountains for decades, recently introduced a full bar menu. The move coincides with a new era, as restaurateur Deep Sethi (Bombay Palace, Nirvana) took over SPL in October after a two-year business…

Tere’s Mexican Grill Expands to Studio City

Tere’s Studio City is larger than the Hollywood original. [Joshua Lurie]Longtime Hollywood favorite Tere’s Mexican Grill opened a larger branch in Studio City, replacing a former Goodwill to start February. The glass-fronted space from Tere Melgar, husband José and son Roberto features a Spanish tile roof and planter-lined patio that will soon hold 24 seats. Inside, a 45-seat dining room features…

Donny’s Breakfast Spot and Cake Bash Debut in Sherman Oaks

Mackey’s Special pairs a waffle with six chicken wings. [Joshua Lurie]To start February, Donny’s Breakfast Spot and Cake Bash bakery took over the Amp Shop Bass Exchange in Sherman Oaks. LA native Donny Harrell learned to cook and bake from his grandmother. He previously ran Ms. K’s soul food restaurant. Donny’s Breakfast Spot is his latest venture. The corner restaurant…

Paris Baguette Expands Korean Bakery Empire to Encino

Multigrain cream cheese pastry is a creative croissant. [Joshua Lurie]A branch of popular Korean bakery Paris Baguette now stands in an Encino spot where Daphne’s Greek Cafe operated for years. The standalone structure on the east end of Encino Town Center features a stucco facade and black awning. Inside you’ll find dark-stained communal picnic tables, exposed wood rafters, white hexagonal tile…

Fatamorgana Brings Creative Gelato to Studio City

Fatamorgana replaces a Studio City hair salon. [Joshua Lurie]Maria Agnese Spagnuolo founded gelato-focused Fatamorgana  in Italy in 2003, focusing on natural ingredients, and is expanding her frozen concept to Studio City, opening next to Artisan Cheese Gallery late this spring. Fatamorgana makes her gelato from scratch, avoiding bases, additives, thickeners, stabilizers, artificial colors and flavors. She pasteurizes milk in-house and simply…

Cravin’ Combines Thai, Taiyaki and Poke in Encino

Cravin’ packages three different concepts. [Joshua Lurie]Square Mix, a company with 13 different concepts in Korea, opened Cravin’ in Encino’s Plaza de Oro, combining Curious Goldie dessert shop, Grill Thai Noodle & Steak, Blue Poke and shared seating. The space last housed Sushi Ganzo and flipped on February 13. A red awning gives way to a two-tiered space. Upstairs you’ll…

Lovebug Pizza Launches in Woodland Hills

Lovebug Pizza features modern design and branding. [Joshua Lurie]Richard Paek recently launched a stylish pizza company called Lovebug Pizza with corporate chef/operations director Kevin Smith. Their first outpost is at Topanga Willows Shopping Center in Woodland Hills and specializes in delivery service using Volkswagen bugs, though you can eat on-site at a counter.  Kevin says they’re working to build “a…

Bajacali Tacos Stars Mexican Seafood in NoHo

Bajacali’s shrimp quesadilla includes avocado. [Joshua Lurie]Ignacio Torres and brother Eric grew up in Ensenada and opened Bajacali Tacos three months ago in a North Hollywood strip mall, featuring the Mexican seafood dishes of their youth. The brothers previously ran a restaurant by the same name in Clearwater, Florida, up until seven years ago. They relocated to LA and helped Northgate Markets open Norwalk…

Toast Café Serves Rare Green Shakshuka in Sherman Oaks

It’s easy being green for Toast Cafe’s shakshuka. [Joshua Lurie]In Israel, shahshuka vies for the title of the country’s most popular breakfast dish. The classic red version features tomato sauce graced with cracked eggs, seasoned with herbs and spices, baked and served with bread or pita for dipping. In Sherman Oaks, Tel Aviv native Yael Tal serves red shakshuka at Toast…

Blu Jam Café Expands to Tarzana’s Village Walk

Bridge breakfast and lunch with brunch carbonara. [Joshua Lurie]Blu Jam Cafe has been open since January 31 at Village Walk, a new Tarzana development with Whole Foods as an anchor tenant. Chef-owner Kamil Majer also runs branches in Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills and Tokyo and has made the San Fernando Valley his primary focus. A patio-lined, 121-seat space with…

Mercado Taqueria Replaces Maradentro in Studio City

Tacos are now the Studio City focus for Jesse Gomez and Jose Acevedo. [Joshua Lurie]Maradentro, the seafood-focused Mexican food concept from Cocinas y Calaveras, Inc., arrived in Studio City in early 2015. Partners Jesse Gomez and chef/partner Jose Acevedo replaced a shorter-lived Mexican restaurant from Jeffrey Saad called La Ventura. Now Jesse is applying lessons learned and plans to introduce a…

Cellador Ales Brews Saisons and Sours in North Hills

Sara Osborne and brewer/husband Kevin do it all at Cellador Ales. [Joshua Lurie]Kevin and Sara Osborne founded Cellador Ales in a North Hills industrial park, ironically just down Roscoe Boulevard from a massive Budweiser plant. However, instead of brewing industrial lagers, the couple specializes in barrel-aged saisons and sour beers. The brewery replaces a former porn studio. Now you’ll just find a…

House of Galbi Goes Big on Korean Food in Encino

Signature galbi pairs well with seafood soon tofu. [Joshua Lurie]At House of Galbi, an ambitious new Korean restaurant in Encino, stone flower beds give way to a huge 251-seat dining room. The sprawling space features a peaked roof with exposed wood rafters and skylights, black tables with built-in tabletop grills and hoods, and orange and blue walls. A full bar features 12 taps….

Art Advancement

Written by Suzanna Cullen Hamilton | Photographed by Nancy Pastor

From buying your first piece of art to cultivating a collection, a guide to enjoying the process.

Sweet Harmony

Written by Linda Grasso | Photographed by Shane O’Donnell

A 14-year remodeling journey—that escalated in recent years—culminates in in an impressive space that befits a west Valley couple’s noteworthy art collection.

Groundwork Coffee Revives NoHo Train Depot

Groundwork Coffee fits seamlessly into a historic NoHo building. [Joshua Lurie]Groundwork Coffee Co., the business that Richard Karno founded in 1990, merged with Jeffrey Chean’s Supreme Bean in 2011. Now Jeffrey is the “chief coffee guy” for the specialty company, which roasts in North Hollywood and operates cafes throughout LA. To start January, they installed a coffee bar and café in…

Heavy Metal

Written by Heather David | Photographed by Adam Grossman

Sculpting metal dates back thousands of years, but in the foothills of Topanga Canyon the ancient art is getting a modern twist.

5 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day in the Valley

Steak is the star at Fleming’s. [Joshua Lurie]Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the San Fernando Day with five different culinary options ranging from ice cream to fine dining, spanning from Woodland Hills to Studio City. The Bellwether The Bellwether, the breakout hit from chef Ted Hopson and front-of-house partner Ann-Marie Verdi in Studio City, is offering a $150, four-course dinner that…

Bobarrito Joins Sushi Burrito Trend in NoHo

DIY sushi burritos star at Bobarrito in NoHo. [Joshua Lurie]To start 2017, a sushi burrito, bowl and boba concept called Bobarrito built on the success of food trucks in Los Angeles, Orange County and New York City by opening a restaurant at the base of a mixed-use North Hollywood development called Muse. The space features a copper panel and glass facade….

Couscous Bowl Brings Moroccan Food to Valley Village

Couscous Bowl’s namesake ingredient provides a hearty base. [Joshua Lurie]Hayat Tazi, a longtime server at Carnival Restaurant in Sherman Oaks, draws on family recipes from her Marrakesh youth, bringing a rare Moroccan restaurant called Couscous Bowl to Valley Village. Couscous Bowl started serving “authentic handmade Moroccan food” to start January in a strip mall just north of the Metro Orange line. The…

Churned Creamery Cranks Ice Cream in Westfield Topanga

Crocream is Churned Creamery’s croissant ice cream sandwich. [Joshua Lurie]Westfield Topanga is the San Fernando Valley’s marquee mall, and even though shiny new sister shopping center The Village has been getting most of the buzz in the past year, new concepts continue to populate the original facility. Ice cream-fueled Churned Creamery started at California Oaks Plaza in Murrieta and Union…

Sweet on Salsa

A woman’s search for love ends—and begins—on the dance floor.

Wasn’t Valentine’s Day just yesterday? Or was that New Year’s Eve? Was Valentine’s Day the day before New Year’s Eve? It feels like it was. Frankly, it’s difficult to keep track of the never-ending cycle of lovers’ holidays pummeling me faster and more furiously with each passing year. And now it is Valentine’s Day again … and I am still…

Salon at The Federal Bar Serves Craft Cocktails Upstairs

Horse’s Neck combines Laird’s applejack, ginger beer, Angostura bitters and citrus oil. [Joshua Lurie]The Federal Bar, a gastropub and performance venue in the NoHo Arts District, became even more interesting over Thanksgiving weekend. Damian Windsor, one of LA’s most respected bartenders, helped launch a third-floor bar called Salon featuring fine craft cocktails. The bar took four years of planning and is…