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With neighbors like this ...

Despite an acreage the size of a small New England state, Century City hasn’t been able to attract any high-profile restaurants to its prime real estate. But early next year, chef-entrepreneur Tom Colicchio of Craft, the build-a-dish restaurant in New York (with outposts in Las Vegas and Dallas), is planting his grill fork at the new 2000 Avenue of the Stars complex.

And what does this location have that no other real estate in L.A. has? Not beachfront or nearby stars’ mansions, but agents -- lots of them. Craft will be right next door to the new Creative Artists Agency building, and only a few blocks away from International Creative Management’s new digs in the MGM Tower.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Jul. 22, 2006 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday July 22, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant owner: An article in Wednesday’s Food misidentified Michael Wilson, chef-owner of Wilson’s in Culver City, as son of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. He is the son of the late Dennis Wilson.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday July 26, 2006 Home Edition Food Part F Page 3 Features Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant owner -- An article in last week’s Food section misidentified Michael Wilson, chef-owner of Wilson’s in Culver City, as son of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. He is the son of the late Dennis Wilson.

That’s two out of this town’s five big agencies.

When reached for comment, Colicchio was on his way to Los Angeles, where he’ll be for the next month, filming appearances as a judge on the new Bravo reality show “Top Chef.”

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Between the new show and the fact that Colicchio’s wife, a filmmaker, has been spending more time in Los Angeles, Colicchio’s interest in expanding west makes sense. And when he talks about Los Angeles being “the perfect market” for his style of restaurant, he’s also referring to an actual market: the Santa Monica farmers market, where Colicchio has been buying the produce for his Las Vegas restaurant and, in the winter, for his New York spots.

This isn’t Colicchio’s first attempt to establish a presence in Los Angeles. In 2004, Colicchio was in talks to open a restaurant in the Argyle, now the Sunset Tower Hotel, in West Hollywood, but negotiations fell through. (The hotel now houses Jeff Klein’s Tower Bar.)

This time Colicchio is banking on the per capita number of agents who will now form his lunch crowd.

A very smart idea, really, when you consider that Hollywood talent agents are about the only people left who actually do lunches the old-fashioned way -- with clients and expense accounts.

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As for the rest of us, when CAA and ICM make the move from Beverly Hills, we might finally be able to get a seat at the Grill on the Alley.

-- Amy Scattergood

Small bites

* Pastry chef Ron Mendoza, formerly pastry chef at Sona and -- briefly -- pastry chef at Ortolan, has moved on. Again. But who wouldn’t take this gig? Since late last month he’s been hanging his toque at French Laundry where he was tapped to be the new sous pastry chef.

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* Wilson, a cafe and wine bar, opened two weeks ago in Culver City. A mixture of international flavors and comfort food (think rabbit sloppy Joes), Wilson, like nearby Ford’s Filling Station, also boasts a chef with a Hollywood pedigree: Chef-owner Michael Wilson’s father is the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.

Wilson, 8631 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 287-2093.

* The ever-growing hordes of downtown L.A. loft-dwellers must be a pretty hungry crowd: There have been a score of new restaurant openings in recent weeks: 626 Reserve, a tapas and wine bar, opened for business on Spring Street.

Fred Eric of Fred 62 and more recently downtown’s Tiara Cafe, opened his new place, Liberty Grill, for lunch Monday. Dinner will come in a few weeks. Eric is serving American regional food in an adobe-style building on Flower Street. And the Chop Suey Cafe opened its doors in a landmark building in Little Tokyo.

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626 Reserve, 626 Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 627-9800; Liberty Grill, 1037 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 746-3400; Chop Suey Cafe, 347 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 617-9990.


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