New Restaurant Planned for Skylight Books Building

The space behind Skylight where a proposed new restaurant would go, as pictured in a 2012 real estate listing. Photo: Creative Asset Partners.

The space behind Skylight where a proposed new restaurant would go, as pictured in a 2012 real estate listing. Photo: Creative Asset Partners.

LOS FELIZ—A new restaurant may soon come to Vermont Avenue’s Skylight Village, the building that houses Skylight Books’ two retail storefronts, and indie playhouse Skylight Theater sandwiched between them.

According to Los Angeles Dept. of City Planning records, restaurateur Beau Laughlin—the man behind Kettle Black and Sawyer, two of Silver Lake’s hottest new eateries—requested a change of use in December for the space behind the theater from retail to restaurant.

But never fear—the beloved bookstore and its neighboring theater aren’t going anywhere, according to the project’s architect Arminda Diaz, who spoke at a February 21st Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC) meeting.

The new restaurant would go behind the theater, in an area currently being used as ancillary storage and rehearsal space, according to Diaz.

“There are no proposed changes to any of the existing retail in the building,” she said.

According to public records, construction permits for the restaurant were approved in 2014, and Diaz said the location already has a conditional use permit to serve alcohol, making the retail-to-restaurant designation the last remaining city hurdle.

Laughlin’s initial concept for the space was a 3,000 square-foot Argentine restaurant with upwards of 150 seats called Cordoba and helmed by chef Joshua Drew, according to a 2014 Eater L.A. report. But architect Diaz said the plans are now “less ambitious,” and have been scaled down to a planned 1,200 square feet with fewer than 60 seats.

The Argentinian Cordoba concept also seems to have been abandoned, as Diaz said the restaurant will serve “California Fare” and a chef is not yet attached.

Some LFNC boardmembers said they felt the new restaurant would greatly benefit the area.

Others, however expressed concern over potential parking and density issues the restaurant could cause.

“I understand this has been approved in the past,” said LFNC Treasurer Barbara Howell, “but I have a problem with changing this from a retail space with [less] traffic to a restaurant with a lot of traffic.”

Ultimately the council voted to write a letter supporting the change of use, with the request that the restaurant provide valet parking, though the city would not require it.

But architect Diaz assured the board that parking would not be an issue.

“[Laughlin]’s not going to open a restaurant without a valet,” she said. “It would be impossible.”

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