DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — The trend of cafes streaming to the Arts District shows no sign of letting up.
John Secretan said this week that he is working on opening a Zinc Cafe & Market at 580 Mateo St. It will be his fourth Zinc, following outposts in Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach and Solana Beach.
Unlike other Zincs, he intends for the Downtown location, which he hopes will open by January, to have a full bar. While much attention will be paid to what Zinc serves, its exterior could also draw notice.
Secretan said a graffiti-adorned wall that runs along Willow Street will remain a “changeable wall.” The plywood erected by construction crews on the former packaging company has seen new designs virtually every day. Secretan said that as long as the artists respect the rest of the building (read: leave it the color he chooses), he will allow the Willow wall to be an urban canvas.
“That’s what the neighborhood’s all about,” he said, noting he has been eyeing the Arts District for a while, and believes with the newly opened Urban Radish and the under-construction, mammoth One Santa Fe residential and retail project, this is the perfect place for his fourth store.
While there is no meat on Zinc’s menu, Secretan stops short of calling it a “vegetarian” restaurant. The adjective, he fears, may scare away carnivores who would actually enjoy the black bean and corn pasta salad or hearty hot plates such as eggplant parmesan or lasagna.
“We’re not preaching vegetarianism from the rooftops. It’s just good food that happens to not have meat,” he said.
While Secretan said he’s still in the menu development phase, customers can count on a coffee bar, a wine bar and a wood burning pizza oven. He’s planning sidewalk seating across from Handsome Coffee Roasters and a “garden-like oasis with fountains” in the asphalt area (behind the black gate) that once was a loading area for delivery trucks.
He also envisions a beer garden there during weekend afternoon hours. In fact, the full-alcohol license is something he’s excited about.
“I’m working with a great bar consultant who's going to create some fun cocktails for us,” he said.
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2013