Now that the economy is moving forward, the number of new restaurants and clothing stores is starting to pop again.
In downtown Los Angeles, it seems there is a new eatery opening every week. The same goes with Manhattan.
This is a win-win situation for trade-show attendees, who like to explore the city they are visiting in the evenings to check out new spaces for eating and shopping.
Here’s our take on some fun and interesting boutiques and restaurants to explore when you are out and about attending your favorite trade show.
1201-A Guerrero St.
If you are a vintage-clothing fan, you’re in luck. A new vintage-apparel store opened up in San Francisco early this year with scads of offerings as well as a selection of locally made jewelry and garments.
The woman behind the emporium is Sarah Dunbar, who honed her vintage chops by working for several years for other shops that carried vintage threads.
She went on to open her first vintage shop in Berkeley, moved to Oakland and now has added a San Francisco outpost because she noticed many of her customers were traveling across the bridge to peruse her merchandise.
The Pretty Penny at Guerrero and 24th Street has a homey feel to it, with hardwood floors and plenty of distinct merchandise to keep you busy for hours.
“About 85 percent of our merchandise is vintage, from the 1920s to the 1970s, with some very select and edited pieces from the 1980s and 1990s,” Dunbar said. “Then we carry new items that complement the vintage.”
Prices are not outrageous, with items fetching $16 to $225. “We have a consciousness to make things affordable, so even a high-school student can afford to come in here,” the shop owner said.
Three days a week, Dunbar works the retail side of her business, and the other three days a week she is out scouting and buying vintage apparel.
unbar started her career at Mars Mercantile in Berkeley, where mostly vintage apparel from the 1920s through the 1970s was stocked. Then she moved to the East Coast to work as a buyer at Beacon’s Closet in hip and happening Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Returning to Northern California, she knew she had to run her own business. Now she has two shops: one in Oakland, which has been around eight years, and her newest in San Francisco. “We have a really loyal clientele in the Bay Area and Oakland,” Dunbar said.
You can rarely go wrong with a restaurant that overlooks the vast waters of the San Francisco Bay.
But the view is not the only thing this trendy spot has going for it. Owner and chef Michael Chiarello has been winning kudos for his Spanish-inspired cuisine ever since he opened Coqueta, his first San Francisco restaurant, at The Embarcadero.
Before he even launched this lauded eatery, he spent a great deal of time in Barcelona studying the various ways this seaside region’s restaurants serve up seafood and other delicacies.
Coqueta, which means “flirt” in Spanish, got rave reviews from Bon Appetit, and he was a finalist this year for the James Beard Award for best new restaurant.
Chiarello has a lot of experience running eating establishments. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., he opened a new restaurant called Toby’s in Miami before moving back to his native California to helm his own eatery, Tra Vigne, in St. Helena. He still operates Bottega in Yountville as well as the Chiarello Family Vineyards.
In the past, Chiarello has focused on his southern Italian roots for much of the menu, but Coqueta is his ode to Spanish cuisine with a Northern California flair.
Appetizers include Iberian cheeses and cured meats, wood-grilled octopus with potato fingerlings, and crispy shrimp and chickpea flour pancakes with saffron aioli.
For the main course, there are larger family-style plates that include a “Gaucho” bone-in rib eye with aromatic Moorish pepper, a whole-grilled branzino with green olive and preserved Meyer lemon salsa, and a pork shoulder loin with honey-chili glaze.
And then there’s the view.
Personnel of New York
9 Greenwich Ave.
Kristi Paras was getting ready to open a clothing boutique in Los Angeles when the building where she hoped to debut her retail spot at Sunset Junction was razed to make way for a condominium project that is still stalled by controversy.
But lucky for the denizens in Greenwich Village, Paras moved back to New York City with her boyfriend, Emilio Ramirez, and they carved out a welcoming apparel outpost last year on Greenwich Avenue.
This indie store in an old brick building is welcoming with its large bay windows that offer a wonderful view of the interior.
Inside, the décor is uncluttered and refreshingly bright with the help from some exquisite fixtures by the lighting company Apparatus.
Paras used her background as a buyer for Divine and Canal Jean Co. to curate the men’s and women’s collection, which is drawn from a wide variety of labels that range from Won Hundred, 69 and Loup Charmant to Creatures of Comfort, Objects Without Meaning and Mara Hoffman.
The customers who frequent the emporium range in age from 20 to 70. “We think of the store as a neighborhood store,” Paras said. “But one moment you will have Susan Sarandon walking in, and then you will have Zooey, the crazy art lady, walking in. They all need stuff right now.”
Paras said she is interested in stocking clothes that are wearable and useful. “The things that become the go-to-things you wear every day,” she explained. “There are a lot of very comfortable, artful pieces that are appealing to this very broad age range.”
Prices range from $28 to around $350.
324 Lafayette St.
Inside a 100-year-old building sits Gato, a new restaurant opened at the beginning of the year by two old hands at putting together well-liked eateries.
For 15 years, chef Bobby Flay and Laurence Kretchmer ran a place called Bolo, known for its Spanish-influenced cuisine, but a real estate development put an end to that venture when their building was demolished to make way for a new structure.
Rising up from the ashes of destruction, they have carved out a beautiful brasserie in a former homeless shelter transformed into an outpost straight from the artsy 1920s.
There is a certain industrial vibe to the restaurant’s décor, complete with thick black columns, mirrored walls, a rustic brick ceiling and a wraparound bar topped with marble.
Flay, who is known for his frequent appearances on the Food Network, has infused his menu with a Mediterranean flavor accented with a dash of Spanish olé.
Many restaurant critics believe this is Flay’s best eatery so far. He is also the owner of Bar Americain in New York City and Connecticut, Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City.
The menu at Gato has much to offer. There is an array of appetizers that include oven-roasted shrimp with oregano; roasted octopus with tangerine, bacon and oregano; and pizza with lamb sausage. At the bar, you can order a mussel and clam salad with saffron pickled shallots; artichoke heart with quail egg and sea urchin; and eggplant with manchego cheese, oregano and balsamic vinegar.
The entrées are just as interesting with dishes such as the Berkshire “porterhouse” pork chop sweating an osso buco–like ooze of red wine and tomato. There is a vegetarian paella; steamed halibut with Sicilian olives, mint, anchovy and an orange saffron-tomato broth; and tarragon chicken with crispy potatoes and goat cheese.
This is definitely a place where you need to make reservations.
3841 NE Second Ave.
Miami Design District
California-born designer Rick Owens recently opened his second store in the United States at the Miami Design Center, which caters to a selection of high-end boutiques.
To go with Owens’ “grunge-meets-glamour” approach to fashion, his new outpost is designed to look like an industrial temple with lots of open space. From the ceiling hangs a life-size sculpture of the 51-year-old designer, who got his training in Los Angeles at Otis College of Art and Design as well as at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
The fashion is edgy and expensive. It’s hard to find much for under $300, but the pieces are beautiful. Inside the 2,150-square-foot space, you can find his men’s and women’s runway collections along with his DrkShdw and Lilieslines. The new store also features the designer’s exclusive Hun line of furs and exotics exhibited in a specific VIP salon tucked away at the back of the store.
There are grunge-influenced jackets in the $1,500-to-$2,200 range, leather jackets for as much as $5,600, pants for $300 to $500, and tops for $257 to $516.
1826 Restaurant & Lounge
1826 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, Fla.
New to Collins Avenue is a four-story glass cube of a restaurant and lounge helmed by Danny Grant, the culinary expert who in 2012 was named Food & Wine’s “Best Chef.”
Grant won this award while working in Chicago at the Waldorf Astoria’s prestigious RIA restaurant. Now he has ventured south to Miami Beach, where his new 1826 Restaurant & Lounge adds a more formal flavor to the eateries lined up along the avenue.
Grant partnered up with the Cypress Hospitality Group to develop the outpost, where no expense was spared on the interior design. There are lots of brushed concrete, burnished wood floors and wood tables, ultra-modern white chairs, and tall walls of glass that overlook Collins Avenue.
The restaurant holds court on the second floor. The bar and lounge on the third and fourth floors get a loftier view of the pedestrian traffic below.
The eatery’s seasonally driven menu provides a wide range of contemporary American plates whose entrées are split between seafood and meat.
Special call-outs for appetizers include the cucumber gazpacho with almond dill and the Florida avocado salad with grapefruit and hearts of palm drizzled with a citrus emulsion. Diners say they can’t get enough of either of these.
The entrées are divided into two categories: the Hook and the Hunt.
On the Hook side of the menu is an array of seafood. Particularly appealing is the lobster and king crab poached with scallop dumplings, spring onions and pastis.
If you’re traveling on a business expense account, you might want to try the golden egg ($50), a golden osetra caviar with a sliver of gold served in an egg shell.
Less exotic is the wild Atlantic cod roasted with arugula, heirloom tomatoes and served with a garden cassoulet.
For meat eaters, there are short ribs grilled with artichokes and served with Brussels sprouts. Diners rave about the beef tartare served in miniature cornets.
If you like to eat big, you can always order the 14-ounce grilled New York strip steak.
Fashion Show Mall
3200 Las Vegas Blvd. South
For the trend chasers out there who don’t want to spend a month’s salary on their next fashionable outfit, Las Vegas has a new shop for you.
Dynamite, which caters to the woman who needs day-to-evening attire or the hottest look off the runways, just opened on May 1 at the Fashion Show Mall.
If you haven’t heard of this store, you’re not alone. That’s because the Canadian retail chain has only four other Dynamite stores in the United States, and they are all on the East Coast. The Las Vegas store is the company’s first West Coast exploration.
Located in a 3,443-square-foot space on the mall’s first floor, the merchandise here is fun, fashionable and affordable. Price-wise, it is one step up from Forever 21.
Dynamite, based out of Montreal, designs its clothes in-house, which means trendsetting is foremost. There are lots of maxi dresses and high-low tops.
A striped shirt dress goes for $44.90, and a dressy crepe pant sells for $39.90. A high-low sweater tunic is $25.00, and a sleeveless parka is set at $59.90.
Groupe Dynamite, the parent company of Dynamite and Garage, a retail concept focused on teens, was started in 1975 by Andrew Lufty.
The company has scads of stores in Canada, but when it comes to that territory south of the border, it’s just starting to branch out.
The Cromwell 3595
Las Vegas Blvd. South
This new restaurant doesn’t open up until June 8 inside the new boutique hotel called The Cromwell, but the menu and the chef sound so enticing, it was worth a heads-up for epicureans on the hunt for new, upscale eateries.
Giada, the restaurant named after the photogenic TV-star chef Giada de Laurentiis, whose grandfather was film producer Dino de Laurentiis, is a breath of fresh air from the steak-heavy havens up and down The Strip.
First, the restaurant will have natural lighting thanks to the eatery’s huge retractable windows, and there will be an outdoor dining patio with views of the spectacular Bellagio fountains, whose waters flow to the beat of various show tunes.
De Laurentiis, who was born in Italy but lives in the United States, where she graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, will take a few pages out of her cookbooks to whip up the restaurant’s menu.
The superstar chef, who was recently profiled in Food & Wine magazine, likes to cook Italian with a California twist of light. If the recipes in the article are any indication of how the restaurant will shake out, there will probably be a long line at the door.
The list of entrees sounds intriguing. It includes lemon spaghetti with capers and basil; chicken cacciatore with red wine butter cooked with red bell peppers, fennel bulb and olives; marsala herb chicken meatballs; rosemary focaccia; and vegetable Bolognese rigatoni.
De Laurentiis did her culinary studies at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with an emphasis on pastries. After returning to the United States, she worked in several Los Angeles restaurants, including a stint at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago.
Being near Hollywood and having that Hollywood connection, she has been a popular sight on television.
6827 Snider Plaza
This well-curated clothing store for men and women doesn’t necessarily follow the latest trends but does provide an elegant snapshot of what is brewing in the contemporary clothing world.
The store, run by John Piermarini, used to be located in the uptown section of Dallas but moved to Snider Plaza to be more centrally located.
The space is small with only 1,000 square feet to accommodate everything from accessories to shoes. The décor takes a page out of the SoHo school of interior design with concrete floors, brick walls and an air of minimalism.
Piermarini loves fashion and discovering new designers not carried by other local stores.
“The brands change every season,” Piermarini said. “We might have a designer for two seasons, then the next season we might bring in seven new lines. You never know what it’s going to be.”
In the past, brands have included LnA tees and tanks and Abi Ferrin blouses. There are unusual basics such as a blazer with exposed zippers and digitally printed dresses.
“The aesthetic is a day-to-night, casual cool kind of thing,” he explained. “It is not too dressy but not too many T-shirts either.”
Piermarini isn’t necessarily attached to any one trend and makes an effort to curate a classic look that is attractive to a young professional just building a wardrobe.
For finding merchandise, Piermarini doesn’t do the typical trade-show circuit but relies on close connections to develop his store’s stock.
“We carry brands from Brazil, South Korea, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. I have brands from all over, and it is through a slow growth of meeting people,” he said.
Price points range from $65 for a T-shirt to $195 to $600 for a dress.
3011 Gulden Lane
Dallas diners spent months anticipating this new Trinity Grove restaurant, which opened late last year and is helmed by owner/chef Omar Flores and co-owner Jonn Baudoin.
The pair previously had worked together at the very popular Driftwood seafood restaurant in the Oak Cliff district of the city, which they left to form Casa Rubia.
In their second foray into the world of wine and food, they have tapped into the intricacies of Spanish cuisine to come up with a highly praised menu that goes beyond your typical Spanish restaurant.
Not only is there an array of tapas, also known as small dishes, but a dense list of Spanish wines, cheeses and hams that will make you think you are sitting in the middle of a bodega in Barcelona and not in Dallas.
In the tapas territory, the white anchovies dish gets a special nod for the little fish braided down the center of a cassoulet plate and garnished with roasted red and yellow peppers and some croutons. Another favorite are the chicken buñuelos, a doughy concoction that includes aged ham and cream.
The entrées are heavy influenced by seafood. These include Cape Cod mussels with a sour orange and sherry sauce and black cod with smoked clams in a green sauce. There are also dishes designed around squid, octopus and shrimp.
Roasted rabbit is a different addition to the carte, and paella is one of the eatery’s signature dishes that changes with the seasons.
The décor is not overly imposing. There is a huge granite wraparound bar set in the center and banquettes along the walls.
910 S. Broadway
With the arrival of the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, there is now a string of edgy, high-end retailers that are making this area of Broadway one of the hippest corners in town.
Right across the street from the Ace Hotel, Oak opened its first West Coast store to provide fashion-hip male and female customers a cool place to shop. Oak has two stores in New York City, one in Paris and another in Tokyo.
The LA boutique, which encompasses 2,200 feet, is convenient for bar-goers and diners who want to do some shopping later on.
Oak is located in an old building owned by jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino, the woman known for her bright pink hair and whimsical accessories. The store is located on the ground floor in a minimalist space that has polished concrete floors, high ceilings and large concrete pillars painted white.
The spare décor has a few decorative elements. The dressing rooms have billowy curtains made of white fabric trimmed in dark blue. One corner has a large, curved, off-white couch for sitting and enjoying an array of accessories stacked up against one wall. And an aloe-vera plant the size of a large bush sits in a black stone pot atop a table.
The multi-brand store carries labels such as Won Hundred, Jeremy Laing, Jonathan Simkhai, Rick Owens’ DrkShdw, Hood By Air and Ann-Sofie Back. The store also stocks its own label.
Prices are high with jeans retailing for as much as $500 and a men’s baseball-style cotton jacket going for more than $1,000. Women’s pleated pants can fetch more than $400, and dresses are from $160 to $600.
Oak was founded in 2005 by Louis Terline and Jeff Madalena, who opened their first store in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Last year, Oak was purchased by American Apparel, the Los Angeles manufacturer known for its T-shirts and other clothes made in Los Angeles.
927 S. Broadway
The Ace Hotel has been grabbing its share of headlines ever since it opened at the beginning of the year.
The building’s transformation into one of the hippest spots to frequent in the Los Angeles Fashion District includes its ground-floor restaurant, called LA Chapter.
The eatery’s décor gives the place a Parisian/New York vibe with its black-and-white tile floors, mirrored columns and tin roof. There is also an outdoor patio where you can watch the hipsters file in and out of the 1927 building, built by United Artists founders D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. It was the headquarters of their new film business.
LA Chapter is a good hangout for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as for cocktails. The menu has a certain new American twist to it with high-quality ingredients sourced locally as much as possible.
The list of plates was curated by Jud Mongell and Ken Addington—the team behind Brooklyn restaurants Five Leaves and Nights and Weekends.
Addington has created a menu that includes LA versions of some of his iconic dishes. Instead of Five Leaves’ ricotta pancakes, there are malted buckwheat waffles.
Burgers made from grass-fed beef and served with a harissa mayo sauce have a predominant place on the lunch and dinner menus.
For the all-day menu, there is also more everyday fare such as grilled cheese sandwiches, grilled chicken-breast salad, arugula salad and kale salad, which includes Gouda and hazelnuts.
The dinner menu’s entrees include steamed mussels in saffron coconut milk, seared sea scallops with braised bacon and purple carrot puree, stuffed rabbit loin, and marinated skirt steak with fingerlings and salsa verde.