DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Since opening in early 2011, Little Tokyo restaurant the Spice Table has been a darling of the Los Angeles dining scene. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, however, plans to take over the space in order to build a $1.37 billion rail line underneath the property.
Plans for the Regional Connector call for Metro to displace the Spice Table, Weiland’s Brewery and Señor Fish to make way for an underground light rail station.
The agency will be required to pay relocation costs to the displaced businesses, but that’s little consolation for Spice Table chef and co-owner Bryant Ng. The restaurant occupies a more than 100-year-old building on Central Avenue. The brick edifice, unique design and Little Tokyo location, Ng said, make the site irreplaceable.
“The Spice Table as it is can only exist in this particular location,” Ng said. “It’s soul lives here. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t open another restaurant somewhere else, but opening a restaurant is very tough and we’d have to start all over.”
Weiland’s Brewery owner Rick Bennett, whose restaurant has been serving pints and burgers in Little Tokyo for 12 years, is also disappointed.
“To tear it down, it’s just a shame,” Bennet said. “I’ve been a part of the community. I’m sorry to see us leave. The Little Tokyo area and the Arts District both have been very good to us.”
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that foodies still have ample time to visit the restaurants. The Connector still needs final approval from the Metro board. That is slated to be considered this month, and the project could break ground as soon as 2014.
It is unclear when the businesses would have to move.
Contact Ryan Vaillancourt at firstname.lastname@example.org.