Two New Developments in Old Town

I know it has been forever and a day since I last wrote, but figured I’d share some information that is now making the rounds.

Louise’s Trattoria, the Italian eatery at the corner of Fair Oaks and Colorado, will become an 800 Degrees, a create-your-own pizza restaurant.  The concept is not new to Pasadena, but judging by the lines at a competitor down the street — Blaze Pizza — we can expect it to be busy.

Also, the Starbucks that is connected to Barnes & Nobles will be relocating a few storefronts down into the old Barney’s space at 93 W. Colorado.  The 2,640 SF space will now have a restroom for its customers, but I’m hoping for something even better — for it to become an “evening location.”  This would mean that they would be the 3rd LA area Starbucks to offer wine and an evening menu.  I think the people of Pasadena would embrace this concept and it would certainly be a nice addition to Old Town.

800 Degrees



Which Wich Coming to South Lake

Which Wich, a quick serve sandwich joint, will be opening a new location at 230 S. Lake, next to Zono Sushi.  The national chain is one of the fastest growing concepts in the industry.

More to come shortly…

The Changing Face of Pasadena

To many, Old Town Pasadena is a place to leisurely walk around, shop and dine while Paseo is  a misfit of sorts that has yet to find its way.  However, there appears to be a strategic plan in place that could make Paseo more of a destination, pedestrian friendly and attract higher end retail.

In the coming months, there will be some major turnover in Old Town.  Barnes and Nobles will be closing, leaving a 15,500+ square foot space to be divided (as no retailer nowadays takes that much space).  The women’s clothing store Chico’s will also be vacating their space, adding an additional 2,200 square feet to become available.  Barney’s, the longest running restaurant in Old Town had an amazing run since 1979 but unfortunately closed on December 5th and the landlord has yet to find a tenant for 2,640 square feet.  And who can forget the 9,000 square feet of restaurant space on the third floor of 88 W. Colorado that once housed JJ’s Steakhouse.  With all of this vacancy, I am curious to know who will be moving in and how Pasadena takes to them.

As for Paseo, the redevelopment has been ongoing for some time.  They continue to let tenants leases expire and temporarily fill them with — in my opinion — terrible shops which adds to the downward spiral.  I’ve been told over and over that a 2013 start date and 2014 grand reopening was in the works, but have yet to believe this.  In addition to the new retailers, they plan on adding some green to the now concrete walkways and make them more family/kid friendly.  I’ve included some pictures below of renderings that show how they would like the new center to look.

Lastly, a rumor I am hearing is that the McCormick & Schmick’s in Plaza Las Fuentes (intersection of Los Robles and Union) will be closing next year.  I am not surprised by this, but maybe they are just relocating.

What are your thoughts on all this change?  Who would you like to see come to Pasadena (retail or food) who has yet to come?

Paseo Colorado Rendering #1 Paseo Colorado Rendering #2 Paseo Colorado Rendering #3

* Disclosure – these are just renderings and the tenants shown in the picture do not necessarily reflect that they will be in the complex.  

Mendocino Farms to Pasadena?

I’ve been hearing a little rumor that Mendocino Farms is quietly searching around Pasadena for a location to call home.  The fast casual sandwich spot currently has five locations throughout LA with an opening at Figat7th coming soon.  Having been to a few of their locations, I would welcome such an addition to the area with open arms.

Given that the vast majority of their business is during lunchtime, I would tend to believe that they are looking at Lake Avenue near the business district.  The company also has a good catering business which bodes well for the surrounding tenants.

While I cannot confirm if this is a done deal, I am optimistic that we will see an opening in 2013.  To wet your appetite, check out their current menu.

Rumor Around Town

I have now heard from several credible sources that Fleming’s, the upscale steakhouse, will be opening up shop in the former Coldwater Creek space at 455 S. Lake Avenue.  If this is true, I believe it is fantastic news for the community and a great move on the part of the Fleming’s.

Fleming’s is a great chain that creates a comfortable, upscale feel without the over-the-top prices.  Their happy hour menu, 5 for $6 ’til 7, has a number of good deals on it and the menu is what you would expect from a steakhouse.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of either Ruth’s Chris or Arroyo Chop House, so I would welcome this addition with open arms.  When I first moved to LA, my roommate and I would go to Fleming’s as a treat from time to time and I have fond memories of the restaurant.

South Lake is shaping up to be a great dining destination.  Between the opening of Trattoria Neapolis, the quick grab options at Lemonade and now this, you certainly can’t starve.

BJ’s Restaurant Opening October 29th

The ever popular BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is set to open their doors on Monday, October 29th at 11:00am.  The much-anticipated opening will be located at 234 E. Colorado, right next to Paseo Colorado and on the corner of Marengo.

As Pasadena continues to open up restaurants, I’m sure the community will welcome the new BJ’s with open arms.  I know a slew of people who love the chain for their deep dish pizza and famous pizookie.  If you want to try something other than the fan favorites, there is plenty they offer in their massive menu — which I believe competes with The Cheesecake Factory for largest menu ever.

The company really did a nice job with the interior space, keeping the high, ornate ceiling and adding darker hues throughout.

What are your thoughts on this new addition?

Umami Burger Pasadena Opening Soon

Umami Burger, the fast growing cross cultural chain, is soon to open its doors in Pasadena.  Located at 49 E. Colorado Boulevard (the old Naga Naga Ramen space), the latest outpost for Umami is slated to open on Wednesday, October 17th, but was told by some insiders that it may be pushed a few days.

Each Umami location has a unique feel and decor and this one is going to be “sleek, modern and minimalist, inspired by the nearby Apple Store.”  What?  Why?  Don’t get me wrong, I really like this kind of look but Pasadena is known for some great architecture and design, neither of which fits this mold.  I really think ownership missed out on a great opportunity to showcase the local design and feel.

With Intelligentsia Coffee next door, this retail stretch can now be known as hipster central.  However, I am really excited by this opening.  I really like a few of their burgers and think its a great dining option to the budding restaurant scene here in Pasadena.  With Blaze Pizza coming soon, there will be two great additions to the area!

The space isn’t overly large, maybe seating 60 or so patrons with mostly 4-tops, a bunch of 2-tops and one 6-top round picnic style table.  I was able to snap some photos today as their signage was going up.  What are your thoughts?