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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 31, 1998 | PATRICK KERKSTRA, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The coffee talk is over at La Conversation. After 17 years and countless croissants, this small neighborhood coffeehouse and bakery in Los Feliz closed its doors Sunday. As they savored their last afternoon at the shop, a band of distraught Felizians sat wondering aloud about where their community was heading and, maybe more importantly, where they would now find good conversation and cappuccino. "This is so depressing," said Murielle Uretsky with genuine pain in her voice.
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BUSINESS
August 25, 1998 | BRAD BERTON, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
It's more of a trickle than a flood so far, but construction of the Staples Center--along with other downtown L.A. "coming attractions"--is starting to draw restaurateurs who plan to cash in on growing nighttime crowds. Other retailers are expected to follow. "We believe [the arena] will be fabulous for business downtown," said Susan Feniger, who, with partner Mary Sue Milliken, operates Santa Monica's Border Grill and stars in the popular "Too Hot Tamales" cooking show on cable television.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 1998 | K. CONNIE KANG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A federal probe of Koreatown-area restaurants uncovered rampant violations of minimum wage and overtime laws, the U.S. Labor Department announced Friday. In a sweep of 43 randomly picked restaurants, investigators found that 200 workers were underpaid by $250,000. All but two of the restaurants had violated the labor laws, said regional spokesman Tino Serrano of the U.S. Labor Department.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 16, 1998 | PETER Y. HONG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Ernie Jr.'s Taco House was about the last thing old in Old Pasadena. The 43-year-old chili con carne joint closed last week, and its guacamole-green and maraschino-red booths will soon be cleared out. When they go, little will be left from the days when Colorado Boulevard restaurants posted signs like the one in Ernie Jr.'s doorway reminding folks that "No one with bare feet will be allowed in these premises." Starting in 1955, before bookstores sold coffee and coffee shops sold books, Ernie Jr.'
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 1998
A procedural problem Thursday delayed five Koreatown restaurant workers' attempt to freeze their former employer's assets while their lawsuit seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages awaits trial. The workers, who are accusing Young Jo Choi and his wife, Bok Seung, of paying them illegally low wages and no overtime, are seeking to "attach" Choi's two Koreatown apartment buildings and a Torrance home.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 1998 | K. CONNIE KANG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Even as her elderly and anxious mother pleaded with her not to talk to reporters, a Koreatown waitress Tuesday told a news conference how she and other workers were allegedly exploited by a restaurant owner whom they are suing in Los Angeles Superior Court for hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 1998 | ABIGAIL GOLDMAN
In the 15 years John Yu has owned Sheri's Coffee Shop inside a 21-story office building in Westwood, he has learned the names of just about every tenant. On any given day, he knows who isn't feeling well, and what kind of soup might make them feel better. He delivers lunches in a brown sack to whoever can't make it to his eighth-floor shop--"just like Mom," one customer notes.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 1998 | STEVEN SMITH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
If the eras of a city can be marked by the closing of its restaurants--as Jack Lemmon observes in a new documentary--then the closing of Chasen's, an L.A. landmark from 1936 until 1995, marked the last coffin nail in Hollywood's Golden Age. In Chasen's heyday, Alfred Hitchcock--a regular every Thursday--left $200 tips for the coat-check girl Val. Jimmy Stewart held his bachelor party at the Beverly Boulevard eatery (midgets, not strippers, popped from under the serving tray).
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 1998 | KARIMA A. HAYNES
Rags, paint and solvents ignited a fire at a Ventura Boulevard restaurant Monday night, causing $150,000 in damage, authorities said. No injuries were reported. The blaze broke out at 11:15 p.m. in a storage closet at the Bucco di Beppo restaurant, a new Italian eatery that was set to open March 5 in an existing building near Encino Avenue, said Bob Collis, a Fire Department spokesman. About 60 firefighters from a dozen companies brought the flames under control within half an hour, Collis said.
BUSINESS
February 18, 1998 | CYNDIA ZWAHLEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Before wraps, Frappuccino and frozen yogurt, consumers craved cookies. Entrepreneurs responded with endless batches in hopes of tasting the sweet profits enjoyed by the likes of Mrs. Fields and Wally "Famous" Amos. Movie-lot carpenter Royce Johnson, his wife, Sandi, and buddy Hugh McCurley were among those who joined the batter battles. In the early '80s, they founded Auntie Em's Kitchen in the Land of Ahhhs, today called just Auntie Em's Kitchen.
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