In the nearly five months that Donut Friend has won over a steady clientele of sweet-toothed customers on York Boulevard and Avenue 51, the commercial appeal of that particular stretch of Highland Park appears to have greatly increased.
After all, as Eastsider L.A. reported last week, Paul Gianonne, owner of the well-regarded Brooklyn, NY-based pizzeria Paulie Gee, had plans to launch one of his wood-fired pizza joints two stores west of Donut Friend, directly next to Scoops, the East Hollywood-based gelateria, in the corner space recently vacated by Italiano’s Pizza. (The Italiano's on Figueroa continues to remain open.) However, Gianonne’s plans didn’t exactly materialize, and he might end up opening a pizzeria downtown, according to the Eastsider.
So, what’s going to replace Italiano’s? (The Eastsider mentioned, without naming names, that “another tenant is preparing to move in.”) Turns out that Italiano’s successor is going to be a “new-concept” bar and restaurant, according to Alex Shabani, a real estate agent with Centers Business Management, a Los Angeles-based property company that helped sign a lease surrounding the deal.
Shabani told Patch that Italiano's shut down because it lost its lease—something that was in the works since at least last summer—and that the owners of the upcoming bar and restaurant want to maintain a low profile for now. What the real estate agent did disclose is that at least one of the investors is an experienced East Coast restaurateur.
The suspense isn’t likely to last long though. The new restaurant is expected to open in four to six months—“maybe sooner”—Shabani said.