Sprouts reschedules La Cañada opening

The long-awaited opening of a specialty grocery store in the vacant former Sport Chalet location on Foothill Boulevard will take at least another six months, but other area entrepreneurs promise they’re still on track to open this summer.

Henry’s Market previously planned to open across from Town Center as early as this month, but a corporate merger in February that changed Henry’s to Sprouts has also forced construction delays, according to Sprouts President Doug Sanders.

Sprouts remains committed to opening a store in the heart of La Cañada Flintridge — only now likely in January 2012, Sanders said.

“Even though the Henry’s and Sprouts concepts are relatively similar, we went back to redesign the interior of the store. We wanted to engineer the store to [Sprouts] specifications, so there’s consistency throughout the chain,” explained Sanders, adding that the company plans to stick to exterior design plans already approved by the city and expects construction to break ground in late August.

Sprouts has already filed redesign plans with City Hall that are currently under review by the Planning Department, said Senior Planner Fred Buss. If approved, Sprouts would then have to apply for building permits and get final signoffs for landscaping designs that were already approved in concept, he said.

Local foodies hungry to visit new businesses can, however, look forward to at least two openings this summer, say entrepreneurs behind North Shore Burgers, coming to the United Artists movie theater complex on Verdugo Boulevard, and Anthony’s Fine Food and Wine, planned for Foothill Boulevard in the former home of Chocolate Box Café.

But those hoping for a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt franchise at Town Center — expected to have opened this spring — may have to wait indefinitely.

A lease agreement for a 1,200-square-foot parcel between Panera Bread and Sakura restaurant has not been finalized, according to a spokesperson for Menchie’s. Also, negotiations for a possible deal are no longer active, said Cam Walton of Town Center leasing agents Cushman and Wakefield.

Although North Shore Burgers originally hoped to open May 1, late is definitely better than never. The casual, family-friendly restaurant now looks to mid-July for a grand opening, said general partner Michael Davitt, also a member of the La Cañada Flintridge City Council.

“There are a lot of moving parts. We spent a lot of time refining our plans because we want to create a high-quality customer experience,” said Davitt, who expects to review plans with the L.A. County Department of Public Health this week.

La Cañada’s most recent new business announcement is hoping to avoid potential delays by opening in two phases. Part gourmet specialty foods shop and part European-style café, Anthony’s Fine Food and Wine would open its retail portion in late June or early July, then add wine sales and full kitchen service in September, pending completion of its permit process, said general partner and head chef Anthony La Casella.

A native of La Crescenta, La Casella envisions a hybrid restaurant and food-market that would allow customers to dine on dishes made from ingredients that are also available to purchase and take home. Wines would be available by the glass for diners or by the bottle for store shoppers.

“You can purchase ingredients to make your own cheese plates at home, but it’s also sort of a tapas bar, where cheeses and gourmet salamis would become plates paired strategically with a limited wine selection. In other places, if you say you want a pound of this amazing prosciutto that’s on your plate, they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy and tell you to go to a deli,” he said.

Anthony’s Fine Food and Wine will seek an alcohol sales permit from the city’s Planning Commission on June 14, and a liquor license from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is pending.

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