While waiting in line at Sqirl in Los Angeles, one of the country’s hottest places for avocado toast (the au courant dish is a brown rice plate with sorrel pesto, salsa verde and poached egg), many have noticed that the neighborhood around it is changing.
“It’s the last hurrah of affordable pockets of Silver Lake,” says Coly Den Haan, owner of Virgil Village wine shop Vinovore. Technically sandwiched between East Hollywood and Silver Lake in central Los Angeles, Virgil Village has decades-deep Latino and Asian roots, and is marked by Craftsman-style California bungalows and 1920s apartment buildings.
Over the past few years, it has begun to attract young families, millennials and New York transplants with its influx of accomplished chefs, female-run small businesses and even a cereal shop. And stay tuned for the hood’s coming attractions: the high-end bar supply shop Barkeeper, elevated bakery The Butter Bake Shoppe and a sprinkling of art galleries. Here are a few of the innovative eateries and small businesses that are breathing new life into Virgil Village.
Eat and drink
654 North Hoover Street
Opened in February 2018, this veggie-focused eatery on the corner of Hoover and Lucille is run by married couple Jasmine and Sharky Shimoda; Jasmine previously ran the food program at The Springs wellness center in downtown Los Angeles and Sharky was a manager at Gjelina (the Venice restaurant lauded for its veggie-centric California cuisine). In this light-filled, minimal space accented with hanging plants, Jasmine uses her classic training and makes accessible, fast-casual dishes like the Jewel Box (a version of a grain-based bowl with roasted Japanese sweet potato, Swiss chard and in-house fermented vegetables), and pizzas with activated-charcoal crusts. And those who frequent are as eclectic as what’s on the menu. “There are so many artists and musicians that come through Jewel, and there’s always great conversation,” Jasmine notes.
Sitting on the sunny patio strewn with bistro tables...does indeed conjure up the French bonne vie.
751 North Virgil Avenue
This breezy, French Riviera-style indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar is set in an old bungalow. And sitting on the sunny patio strewn with bistro tables and Mexican blankets with a bottle of wine does indeed conjure up the French bonne vie. Seafood is the star here and the beverage lead is Matt Seigel (formerly a bartender at New York City’s Eleven Madison Park). The cocktail list is flush with rare spirits such as those in the Serge, a drink spiked with Alexander Jules Manzanilla (a floral sherry) and Punt e Mes (a bitter vermouth). DJs turn up the scene at night, according to Eric Tucker, a DJ/music promoter and partner in Melody.
4157 1/2 Normal Avenue
Walk through the streetwear store Virgil Normal (selling everything from bomber jackets to crystals) and you’ll find a semi-secret revamped shed with a back patio carpeted in Astroturf. Behind the counter you’ll meet Theo Martins, a hip-hop artist from Echo Park who dispenses an array of cereal. There are even gluten-free and vegan options (Captain Crunch with Berries and Lucky Charms are guest favorites) plus cold brew coffee. It’s open every day except Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
602 North Hoover Street
Get in touch with your inner craftsman or craftswoman at this artist’s studio with myriad ways including workshops in calligraphy, embroidery and candle-making. Visiting from out of town? They also welcome drop-ins for single classes.
650 North Hoover Street
Opened by husband and wife instructors Chad Dennis and Jennifer Perry, the trapezoidal-shaped space with the vivid watermelon-pink façade certainly stands out in this otherwise low-key enclave. Dennis, however, is no stranger to high visibility in the yoga world — he was the personal on-tour instructor for a headlining band for eight years and headed up the yoga program at a high-profile Hollywood studio. Inside, the space is filled with a baby-pink light and classes are taught at various levels with vinyasa flow, restorative yin sessions and crystal meditations.
Den Haan has created spirit animal profiles...to help you match your mood to the right vintage.
616 North Hoover Street
Around the time of the 2016 presidential election, sommelier Coly Den Haan got thinking about the idea of a wine shop that focused on female winemakers. She did some digging, discovered that this was a novel concept and Vinovore was born. Not only are the winemakers distinct, but so is the way wine drinkers are paired with their ideal bottle from the 100 on offer. Inspired by the Chinese zodiac, Den Haan has created spirit animal profiles — green snake, gold owl, pink pony — to help you match your mood to the right vintage. “So if you’re an orange tiger, you look for the orange stickers on the bottles,” says Den Haan. It’s a creative way of getting wine drinkers out of their comfort zones instead of basing styles solely on popular categories like Cabernet or Sauvignon Blanc. There are events, tastings and a growing bookshop. Naturally, the authors are all-female and Vinovore can recommend a wine pairing to accompany your read.
606 North Hoover Street
Former Michigan-based musician Eric Brendo and photographer Krista Husa opened up this tiny shop in Virgil that specializes in clothing from the 1970s through 1990s, plus vintage shoes. There is also a curated record selection with newer vinyl to standby classics in the stacks.
The Shimodas live five minutes away from Virgil Village, and love the Eastside lifestyle for its fruit trees, homes with yards and the scenic Silver Lake reservoir. The average monthly apartment rental is $1,500-$3,000 and the price range for a single-family home is $875,000-$1,000,000. The neighborhood is also home to a hip, new 94-unit apartment complex called The CitiZen at Virgil Village. It’s stylishly designed and pet-friendly, with balconies, a “paw spa” and a coffee lounge.
Click here to read the complete original post.