Ventura Place

A small side street known mostly for hosting the Studio City Farmers Market becomes a chic Valley hub.

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    Diane Haithman |

When the popular LA eatery Joan’s on Third announced it would open its second location on Ventura Place in Studio City, it was a shot heard across the Valley. A trendy Westside eatery with an artisanal grocery and valet parking coming here? Even so, few would have predicted the change that followed along the sleepy stretch.

Although it took Joan’s nearly two years to open, from the moment its owner signed the lease, the facelift of Ventura Place was underway with newcomers including the Jill Roberts boutique, Tuning Fork restaurant and Habit footwear and accessories.

 And there’s more to come. Santa Barbara-based McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams says its scoop shop will debut in early 2016, and hipster favorite Alfred Coffee + Kitchen opens in late February.

Ann Helpern, owner of Habit, observes that the new tenants represent small entrepreneurs rather than major chains. “I think that really differentiates it from any place I can think of in the entire San Fernando Valley,” Ann says. 

Joseph Kuras, owner/manager of Tuning Fork, succumbed to the lure of Studio City after working in Hollywood and living in Laurel Canyon. “It was cleaner and nicer. I had my heart set on the area, and finally the planets aligned,” he says. Besides serving “locavore” gastropub fare, Tuning Fork also offers “Open Mic Mondays” and Wednesday night blues.

Though they lament increasingly difficult parking, locals praise the influx of new shops. Kit Kraft has anchored the northwest corner of the block since 1954. Manager Mike Sitkin says the longtime family-owned arts supply store can live in harmony with the new shops. 

“I don’t want to say it was a forgotten street, but now it has a positive energy,” he says.