Culinary entrepreneurs opening a new restaurant near the United Artists La Cañada movie theater received Planning Commission approval on Tuesday to serve beer and wine.
Billed as a casual, family-friendly restaurant where diners will sit and enjoy a meal rather than simply pop in for takeout, North Shore Burgers will fill the vacancy left by the recent closure of Rice Garden.
Planning Commission members voted 4-0 in support of granting the beer and wine permit, with Commissioner Michael Davitt recusing himself from the hearing because of a business interest in the project, he said.
"It's what I would call a proper restaurant" for serving beer and wine with a meal, said Commissioner Herand Der Sarkissian, describing North Shore Burgers as a high-end, sit-down dining concept much different than the former Rice Garden.
Commissioner Jonathan Curtis said the new restaurant, complete with beer and wine, will complement existing businesses in the Verdugo Boulevard complex, including the Italian restaurant Café Sole, which also serves beer and wine.
Having obtained the city permit, said general partner Craig Bittner, North Shore Burgers must now receive final approval for beer and wine sales from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, a process expected to take about two months.
Bittner said he expects the restaurant to open between mid-April and May 1.
As the name suggests, North Shore Burgers will employ a casual, Hawaiian-style theme.
"It's a place where you'll feel comfortable when you go inside," said Bittner. "We've hired professional designers for the interior, and the atmosphere is going to look very nice. It's not like a [fast-food] plastic-seat restaurant at all."