The Scout: What’s new on Pico Boulevard
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Here in the land of shopping malls and stacked garages, it’s easy to get excited about an L.A. district where you can park on the street. And walk.
But that’s just one of many reasons why a day spent in Picfair Village is so enjoyable. Long known for auto body shops and hair salons, the stretch of Pico Boulevard between Fairfax and La Brea avenues now stands out for its eclectic — and growing — mix of stores and restaurants with sidewalk seating.
“When I came here, it was myself, Sky’s Tacos, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and CJs,” said Pinky Rose Charles, who opened her clothing boutique Pinky Rose nine years ago among the restaurants. “Melrose was so saturated I decided to move south.”
The stretch of Pico Boulevard had long been predicted to be the next big shopping district, but the renaissance that Charles and others had hoped for was slow to transpire. Only in the last year have four design stores opened, all within a few blocks of one another. A new development, Pico Hauser Plaza, is slated to open this year.
The mix includes Pilates studios, the kosher and gluten-free Breakaway Bakery, an Eco Dog Wash, Mike’s Bike and Skateboard Shop, and Cordially Invited, a stationery and gift store that also has a Southern Girl Desserts cupcake bar and ice cream by the scoop from Fosselman’s, the popular Alhambra parlor.
“There is an element of what is current right now in this neighborhood,” said Erin Adams, who opened Brainworks Home in May. Like many store owners, Adams lives in the neighborhood and augments her art consulting business in the back with her elegant storefront featuring vintage wallpaper, doorknobs, switch plates and other hardware, as well as decorative objects and rehabilitated mid-century furniture such as Marcel Breuer Wassily chairs.
Other new stores include Bleu Moon, owner Saras Naidu’s handpicked antique teak furnishings and gifts from India. Also, Herman Schwartz, owner Larry Cylinder’s mix of mid-century furniture, contemporary artworks and “oddities” — an 18th century fencing helmet, for example, and hand-painted ceramic hat and wig holders. Young entrepreneurs Sung Choi and Pete Arbelaez opened Our Favorite Shop four months ago. The striking interior is composed of cool, movable, modular plywood boxes to display Clae footwear for men (also found at Barneys and Nordstrom), clothing accessories, unusual books, CDs (yes, that’s right) and movies.
As you’re window shopping, you’ll also come upon La Maison du Pain, Bloom Cafe and Chic wine bar. The popular neighborhood cafe, dance studio and gift gallery Paper or Plastik updated its menu this month.
“You will see every kind of person in this neighborhood,” said Don Sanfre, who opened the vintage home decor store Pico Modern five years ago. “It is more cosmopolitan than most.”
-- Lisa Boone
Corrected: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of a former partner in Our Favorite Shop. His name is Pete Arbelaez, not Rabelaez.
Photos, from top: Brainworks Home, Pico Modern, Herman Schwartz, Paper or Plastik. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times