Links N Hops grand opening Thursday

Be sure to head over to Links N Hops Thursday, August 2, for its official grand opening celebration. Owner Andy Hasroun (who also owns 55 Degree Wine next door) is offering up complimentary sausage and beer samples, as well as a complimentary wine tasting for those who venture through the new gastro pub’s doors.

A must-have are the Belgian fries with the spicy ketchup. The sausages varieties are plentiful and come snuggled in fresh rolls baked specifically for Links N Hops. The gastro pub also features a delightful selection of 23 beers on tap that include local craft brews as well as international choices.

Andy also added in a few tables in front for outdoor drinking and dining in our beautiful Los Angeles weather.

Lastly, August 2 is IPA Day so be sure to order your favorite IPA in celebration!

Click here to read our review of Links N Hops.

Atwater Village businesses at a standstill without a parking credit program

Andy Hasroun is one of three business owners at a standstill because of LA City parking regulations

Today, The Eastsider LA published an article about the parking credit program in Atwater Village we’ve been tracking for some time now, although we’ve been hoping our next update would be a good one. Unfortunately, new business owners are having problems opening in neighborhoods like Atwater Village because city’s parking regulations are outdated, don’t promote the good kind of growth, and requires serious improvement.

The focus of the article is 55 Degree Wine owner Andy Hasroun, who’s been working on opening a gastropub next door to the wine shop in the former H&R Block storefront. He hasn’t been able to move forward on his plans to open the pub for the holiday season, since he’s relying on the city to approve a Parking Credit Program that would allow his business the appropriate street parking spaces, rather than, for instance, requiring him to build his own parking. He’s concerned that the delays in legalizing the program will keep him from opening the doors any time soon.

A larger issue

Andy’s not the only one having trouble. We were excited to learn back in July that nearby resident Tricia La Belle would be opening Bon Vivant Market just up the street from 55 Degree Wine, but her October opening deadline was also pushed back because of the city’s parking policy woes. Tricia has been working nonstop to get the city attorney’s office, where the parking credit program now sits, to complete writing the official legal language so that the city can officially adopt the program.

And it’s only along that side of Glendale Boulevard that’s having such specific issues, as the other side has parking provided behind the shopping structure. Tricia said in an email to the city, “I’ve come to find out that the east side of Glendale Blvd is part of a State Enterprise Zone, however the west side of the boulevard was cut out and therefore left this side of the business community out of many State and Local benefits and incentives such as hiring credits, sales & use tax credits, expense and interest deductions, DWP rate discount, sewer facility hookup payment plans, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and reduced parking requirements.”

A little back story about the parking credit program

This has been on the radar of Councilmember Eric Garcetti and his office for quite some time now. The City Council approved his motion to approve the parking credit program in February 2011, giving Atwater Village some hope in attracting more pedestrian-friendly as well as small, locally-owned businesses in the neighborhood. Basically, the new parking credit program started when a study found the area’s metered parking spaces to be underused – under the program, the small businesses along corridors like Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village can purchase “parking credits” tied to those metered spots. This also keeps them from having to build expensive, pedestrian “un-friendly” parking lots, but also ensures there won’t be any overcrowding, and the money put into the program will be dedicated to future studies and improvements in Atwater Village. They’d have to pay as little as $75 per parking credit, which is much cheaper than creating the parking spaces themselves.

Garcetti said in an update published in the Los Feliz Ledger on March 3, 2011 (quote pulled from Atwater Village News), “I share with the community a desire to see mom-and-pop shops and restaurants continue to fill the storefronts along Glendale Blvd. and want to ensure new construction continues to foster a ‘main street’ atmosphere. What we do not want is what the city’s red tape could create—parking lots in front of businesses that would create a ‘mini-mall’ atmosphere or subterranean parking lots that no small business could afford.”

Unfortunately,  Tricia, Andy, and a new sushi restaurant opening next door have experienced exactly that – red tape. However, Garcetti’s office has been very supportive – Tricia of Bon Vivant raves about the help she’s received from local field deputy Angela Motta. Additionally, Garcetti spokesperson Julie Wong told The Eastsider LA, “We have been advocating the City Attorney to make it a priority,” and that “They are well aware of it.”

Tricia said in an email that she’s not giving up. “I’m in LOVE with the Village and the folks I constantly meet as they pop their head in to see what’s happening at the location, the positive energy I receive from the community is overwhelming and their support truly uplifting. So when I do open, we will all have one grand party!”

We’re looking forward to it, Tricia! She hopes to now open in February, assuming the city attorney’s office meets its own January 2012 deadline.

If you’d like to support our Atwater Village businesses hoping to open, send a pleasant and supportive email to William Carter in the city attorney’s office at william.carter@lacity.org

H&R Block vacates, 55 Degree Wine expanding?

A Public Hearing Notice posted recently in the parking lot of this Glendale Boulevard mini-mall indicates what we think is an expansion of our favorite Atwater Village wine & beer spot, 55 Degree Wine.

The notice for a conditional use permit, which has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, September 21, 2011, announces that the 1,438 square-foot former H&R Block space is being transformed into a restaurant with 48 indoor seats and 32 outdoor seats. The conditional use permit will allow the sale of beer and wine only for on-site consumption from 8:00 am – midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 1:00 am Friday and Saturday.

Andy Hasroun of 55 Degree Wine is listed as the applicant, along with the address 3105-3117 North Glendale Boulevard.

We are very excited – the wine cellar at 55 Degree Wine is a lovely, intimate setting that we frequent! We have contacted 55 Degree Wine to learn the details on what we can expect in the near future.

Send any correspondence (hint, hint, a support letter!) with the case number (ZA-2011-1677-CUB) to Jordann Turner at Jordann.Turner@lacity.org

UPDATE:

Owner Andy Hasroun confirmed he is taking over the H&R Block location, which decided to vacate last March, and will transform it into a hip/artsy beer and sausage restaurant. The restaurant will have a separate name, but no decision has been made on the name yet.

They will have a couple of dozen beers from around the world on tap, starting at $6 and going up to $15 for the high-end, rare/limited beers. Also on the beer list – Tony Yanow’s latest brews from his Atwater Village brewery, Golden Road Brewing.

From the kitchen, a variety of sausages including vegan sausages (Andy wants to make sure there are plenty of options for his patrons) and lots of toppings (think Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank). Andy wants to make sure the whole menu from beer to food is affordable for all his future patrons, and is really excited to get things started.

After the public hearing next week, and following the 30-day grace period, construction of the restaurant will begin – including the installation of an exposed kitchen. He’s hoping to have everything finished up by Christmas this year!

Starting hours will be 11:00 am, serving lunch, to 11:00 pm for dinner and after dinner drinks.

And don’t worry – the 55 Degree Wine cellar will be business as usual, and may even offer the kitchen items from next door.

If you’re not familiar with 55 Degree Wine or Andy, stop by the place and say hi! He and the staff have done a great job with 55 Degree Wine, so feel free to send in your letter of support to the city for his new venture!

Groupon strikes in Atwater Village: 55 Degree Wine!

Like most Summer Nights on the Boulevard, we always end up in the cool cellar of 55 Degree Wine with our plate of food truck delights and a couple of glasses of beer or wine. Last night was a flight of Saison and Blonds brews (YUM! Try the Moinette blond and the Caracole Saxo), and there will be a next time soon – because we got ourselves a couple of Groupons!

Today’s featured deal is on for about another day and 8 hours (and counting), but you might want to jump on the 55% special for 55 Degree Wine. Here are the details:

  • For $36, you get two wine flights (up to a $19 value each), one Taste of the World cheese and meat plate (a $25 value), and a pizza (a $12–$14 value; up to a $77 total value). Now this means that you and a friend can each have a flight.
  • For $70, you get four wine flights (up to a $19 value each), two Taste of the World cheese and meat plates (a $25 value each), and two pizzas (a $12–$14 value each; up to a $154 total value). Again, one flight for each person will do you good – perhaps take the girlfriend and her parents?
  • For $105, you get for six wine flights (up to a $19 value each), three Taste of the World cheese and meat plates (a $25 value each), and three pizzas (a $12–$14 value each; up to a $231 total value). Now this is a party – you and your six closest homies.

Click here to read the fine print of the deal and to purchase one!

Photo: The best of Belgians

St. Bernardus versus Chimay

At the Atwater Village Summer Nights on the Blvd. last Thursday, we couldn’t help ourselves and just had to go to the cellar at 55 Degree Wine for some Belgian beers. On the tasting menu- Belgian Battle: Chimay vs. St. Bernardus. For $15 you got five tastings of my favorite Belgians, St. Bernardus Wit, Tripel and ABT 12
along with Chimay Blanch Cinq Cents and Bleue Grand Reserve. As a frequenter of the very, very strong ABT 12, the Tripel will knock your socks off. The Chimay is a lot simpler in flavors compared to the very floral St. Bernardus, but the two tastings were a wonderful way to top off the tasting.

So who wins this round? St. Bernardus is always my favorite, and remains the victor! Thanks 55 Degree Wine!

Summer Nights is over for the year (you wouldn’t guess with the weather outside lately!) but there are a slew of fun things going on in the month of October. Stay tuned!