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EaCa Alley: L.A.'s New Restaurant Row?

By Stephan Horbelt
As this article on L.A. Weekly's site points out, alleys don't always come with the best connotations. But EaCa Alley, the latest improvement to Hollywood as a burgeoning dining and retail mecca, found just East of Cahuenga and just north of Selma Avenue, changes all that. Below is a picture of how the alley appeared before its drastic facelift. Head to the L.A. Weekly story to check out its current appearance, which is nothing short of amazing.

What used to be the site of needle exchange and rampant drug use is now used for outdoor seating for two of Hollywood's stellar restaurants, The Velvet Margarita and Saint Felix. Both have offered tables in the alley to its customers for some time now.

From L.A. Weekly:

The alley, which was designed by the city's Bureau of Engineers, cost $800,000, a number that includes grading and the addition of new pavers (bricks with gravel between them, so they allow water to sink into the ground) but also some storm water and drainage improvements. Businesses can add their own seating up to 10 feet behind their space, where they can get permits to serve alcohol as long as they serve food as well.

In the future, Gadja hopes to see art installations in the space, and he's also working with DWP on an energy-efficient lighting solution. A second alley has been in the works since 2009 for the western side of Cahuenga, adjacent to a new development by the Dream Hotel that broke ground this spring. (The loss of the CRA meant a loss of potential funding, but there's no reason why the hotel shouldn't pay for it. Hint.)

At the moment, the south end of the alley is the most developed, as it backs several restaurants like St. Felix and Velvet Margarita which had already been using the alley for extra seating. Here there are gates, which Gadja paid for, and nice signage that lights up in blue neon at night. Heading north, the businesses there have yet to assemble their dining spaces, but Gadja estimates that within six to eight months you'll see tables up and down the whole alley.

And something else interesting is happening: since the city mandates that you must serve food to be able to utilize the alley, Gadja is seeing the adjacent bars add a dining component. "It's a nice transformation, seeing this movement towards more of a restaurant row concept," he says.