Plus COVID-19 outbreak at Venice restaurant, popular Westside burger joint expands
Westside Dining Scene December 23, 2021 | By Dolores Quintana
Tyra Banks Closes Santa Monica Ice Cream Shop
Tyra Banks’s SMiZE Cream, a premier ice cream shop, has closed its location at Santa Monica Place. SMiZE had only been open for roughly 10 months in the space that used to be The Ugo Cafe. They announced the closure on their Instagram on November 3 and will now be taking orders and shipping their ice cream creations nationwide through Goldbelly on their website. Their location in Lawndale is still open.
Venice Restaurant Reports 28 COVID-19 Cases Among Staff
The winter surge of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is a looming specter over the restaurant scene in Los Angeles, including at a Venice restaurant that has reported 28 positive cases among staff. Los Angeles had over 3,200 new cases as of December 20 and New York City has broken records for four straight days, with the latest total at 23,400 overnight on December 20 according to NBC New York. Eater Los Angeles reports that the New Year’s Celebration in Grand Park and the 62 annual LA Holiday Celebration have canceled their in-person events and will instead broadcast their events on local television or on the Internet. The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena has not been canceled but has a vaccine requirement in place in order to attend. Only a few restaurants have admitted to cancellations, closures or outbreaks among staff. Of the few, Gjelina’s restaurant group in Venice, which includes Gjusta, Gjelina and Gjelina Take Away, announced that 28 members of their staff have tested positive for the coronavirus according to Eater Los Angeles. Gjelina is closed as of Tuesday while Gjusta and Gjelina Take Away remain open. Los Angeles County Health Department rules state that any businesses that have three or more employees who test positive must report to the Health Department which adds the business and the number of cases to the coronavirus outbreak locations list that the Health Department maintains. There is no requirement for restaurants to report outbreaks on their social media accounts or websites.
Free Udon With Ugly Sweater
Marugame Udon is now offering a holiday promotion for ugly sweater owners who love Udon on the Westside as reported by Eater Los Angeles. Anytime you wear your ugly Christmas sweater to a Marugame Udon location, like the one at 2029 Sawtelle Boulevard in Sawtelle’s Japantown, between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23 the restaurant will give you a free bowl of udon with the purchase of another bowl. The restaurant invokes the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi or finding the beauty in imperfection and this will be the second year that Marugame Udon is running the promotion, so it might be a new Christmas tradition.
Popular Venice Burger Joint Opens Silverlake Location
Venice’s own smashburger restaurant The Window is opening another location in Silver Lake. Win~Dow started off as, you guessed it, a window selling burgers, chicken sandwiches and grain bowls at American Beauty on Rose Avenue. A second location was opened on the boardwalk at Venice Beach last year in the fall. The new location is now open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 1529 Griffith Park Boulevard and will continue the restaurant’s low-priced menu, burgers cost under $4.00, and will add dipped ice cream cones and milkshakes. American Gonzo Food Corporation and restaurateur Bruce Horwitz jointly operate Win~Dow and plan on opening more locations in the near future and those locations will have expanded menu options like ice cream and milkshakes, according to Eater Los Angeles. This is all despite a protest and an employee versus owner dispute over tip pooling that happened at American Beauty earlier this year.