Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Incoming Sushi Restaurant Wins Liquor Permit

The new mixed use development at the NW corner of Melrose and Highland. The Sushi Palace restaurant will occupy the corner space on the ground floor.


A new sushi restaurant, coming in to the recently completed mixed use development at the NE corner of Highland and Melrose (6535 W. Melrose Ave.), won approval last week for a permit to sell a full line of alcoholic beverages.

Representatives for the restaurant, Sushi Palace, which is owned by a German company with locations in both Europe and the U.S., first presented the Conditional Use Permit application to the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee in February of this year.  At the time, committee members questioned the applicants’ requested 2 a.m. closing time, and asked that they do more outreach to the communities adjacent to the location for additional feedback.

The applicants returned to the LUC in May, saying they had met with the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association, which represents the area on the north side of Melrose, but were unable to reach the Hancock Park Homeowners Association (which represents the area to the south across Melrose).  They also reported that they were officially changing their requested closing time to 11 p.m. (and 10 p.m. for the outdoor patio space).  And based on this new information, the Land Use Committee voted to recommend that the GWNC board support the application, which that body voted to do at its June 8 meeting.

Between June 8 and the application’s July 19 Zoning Administrator hearing, however, residents in the Hancock Park area did become aware of the application (there had apparently been a mix-up with the e-mail address the applicants initially used to reach the group), and the HPHOA weighed in with opposition to the permit request, noting that almost all other restaurants in the area, including the group of Mozza restaurants just SW of the Sushi Palace location) have 10 p.m. closing times. (The one exception is the Cat & Fiddle pub, just to the north on Highland Ave., which closes at 11 p.m.).  The HPHOA asked that the new restaurant, too, be required to close at 10 p.m., to prevent late-night noise and traffic disturbances to nearby neighbors.

At the July 19 ZA hearing, the applicants and the neighbors continued to disagree on the requested closing time, but also made it clear that they had reached agreements on several other aspects of the proposed permit terms, including having no music on the outside patio, which will close at 10 p.m. daily, and to allow only low-level ambient music in the indoor dining space.  They also agreed on allowing the restaurant to maintain a piano in the center of its dining room, to be played only during special events.

But several parties at the hearing also pointed out that the city’s new Restaurant Beverage Program will automatically allow any new restaurants permitted under the program to close at 11 p.m.  Some neighbors testified that they did not want to set a precedent for that hour with this new permit (which was not made under the RBP)…but in the end, the Zoning Administrator, More Song, agreed with other speakers who said it would make more sense to align with the new RBP rules.  Song waited a couple of weeks to issue his final opinion, to allow time for additional neighborhood input, but in the end, he approved the permit request with the 11 p.m. closing.

In a message to the Buzz after Song’s determination letter was released, Hancock Park HOA President Cindy Chvatal said that even though the restaurant won’t close at 10, as the group had hoped, the association did realize “99% of what the neighborhoods asked for,” including no music on the outdoor patio, and a 10 p.m. closing for the outdoor space.  And the 11 p.m. indoor closing, Chvatal said, is still “way better then the original ask of 2 a.m.” and does align with the new Restaurant Beverage Program standards.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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