Mast Brothers Chocolate factory and store closes in the downtown Arts District

Mast Brothers Chocolate in downtown L.A. has closed. Pictured is a selection of chocolate bars at the L.A. factory.
Mast Brothers Chocolate in downtown L.A. has closed. Pictured is a selection of chocolate bars at the L.A. factory.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

From a chocolate factory move to egg tarts in Glendale, here’s what’s happening in the Los Angeles food and drink world.

The chocolate factory: Rick and Michael Mast, the brothers behind the Mast Brothers chocolate company, closed their Arts District factory and retail store in early March. The facility was open for about a year. The brothers have also closed their London operation and are currently working on a new 65,000-square-foot New York City factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “It’s really just about keeping up with demand,” said Rick. The brothers are focusing their L.A. efforts on getting enough chocolate into specialty stores in the area. “We take a lot of pride in teaching a whole new generation about how chocolate is made,” said Rick, who added that he’s already started roasting beans in the Brooklyn factory and hopes to have it open to the public for tours as soon as possible.

Bring on the egg tarts: 85°C, the Taiwan-based bakery chain known for its brick toast, egg tarts and iced sea salt coffee, has opened a location in Glendale. Known as the Starbucks of Taiwan, the bakery has more than 800 locations in Taiwan, China and Australia, as well as more than a dozen in Texas, Washington and California. The company said it plans to expand even more in the U.S. over the next couple of years. 201 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 100, Glendale, (818) 550-0885,

Hollywood switch: Viva Hollywood, a Mexican restaurant that has taken over the former Beso space in Hollywood, opens Wednesday. Chef Raymond Alvarez (formerly of Toca Madera) will serve ceviche, mole, tacos and flatbreads. The restaurant also promises live cabaret, flamenco performances and musical acts. 6350 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 467-1350.


Time to nosh: Chef Eric Greenspan (Maré, Greenspan’s grilled cheese), Jim Hustead and James Moon of Midcourse Hospitality Group have partnered with Avi Heyman and Daniel Uretsky to open Fleishik’s, a kosher sandwich shop. The name comes from the Yiddish word for meat. At the shop, Greenspan is serving his take on modern and classic Jewish food with the Bubbe (grandmother) sandwich, made with brisket, arugula, crispy chicken skin, beet horseradish and crispy onions; and the Seder Plate sandwich, made with smoked turkey, cranberry walnut charoset, fried egg, romaine and horseradish. There also will be salads, chicken soup and a limited selection of spirits, wine and beer. In the center of the space is a sink for netilat yadayim (the tradition of purifying your hands) for customers to use if they choose. 7563 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 746-5750,

Paella Week is coming: A Basq Kitchen, the Spanish restaurant on the Redondo Beach Boardwalk, will serve five kinds of paella over the course of five days, March 22-26, to celebrate National Paella Day on March 27. The celebration will include seafood paella; lamb and drunken grapes paella; squid ink and chorizo paella; pork belly paella; and a mixed paella with chicken, pork, chorizo, squid, mussels and clams. 136 N. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, (310) 376-9215,

Still hungry? Porto’s Bakery and Cafe has opened a location in Buena Park. The Doheny Room on Santa Monica Boulevard has started serving brunch. Tower 12, chef Brendan Collins’ Hermosa Beach restaurant and bar, is now open. Barbelle, a farm-to-table restaurant inside the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, is now open. Truss & Twine, from Workshop Kitchen + Bar chef/owner Michael Beckman, is will open soon in Palm Springs. The Rockefeller gastropubs in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach have started Friday bottomless brunches. Primo Italia, an Italian restaurant in Torrance’s Hillside Village, is now open. Esters Wine Shop & Bar has launched a happy hour every Monday through Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m.