If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, The Hollywood Reporter may receive an affiliate commission.
“I call it the new Larchmont. It’s amazing,” said Louis Eafalla, who has operated his Village Heights gift shop in Larchmont Village for 17 years. “It really is a shopping street again.”
The area — with more than 50 shops and restaurants along Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and First Street — was founded in 1921 and, after taking a hit during COVID, has bounced back to become one of LA’s hottest neighborhoods . Levain Bakery, Clark Street Bakery and Faherty Brand have opened stores this year, with upcoming outposts for Sweet Lady Jane, Terroni, Suá Kitchen and Superette and Jon and Vinny’s Cookbook Market joining a mix of old moms.
Levain was a particular crowd-pleaser, according to many in the area, with the brand’s first location in LA causing lines down the street. Lorna Sommerville, Levain’s Chief Commercial Officer, says that after looking at many areas in the city, the company’s founders were “immediately drawn to Larchmont Blvd’s charming feel, walkable streets and close-knit community.” It’s so popular that it even had customers camped out in their cars on opening day, Sommerville says, adding, “we’re thrilled that there seems to be something of a culinary and baked goods renaissance happening at Larchmont.”
Canadian clothing brand DUER is also a newcomer to the streets, opening over the summer, and CEO Gary Lenett reports a similar level of early success: “We came out of the gate and we’re doing really well. I always say that nothing is as good as you ideally hope, or as bad as you fear, but this was amazing. We are very happy with the results in the first three months.”
And the competition has become fierce, as Lenett says they were competing with two brands to win the retail space. “It’s built-in pedestrian traffic, which doesn’t exist in LA,” Eafalla says of the area’s appeal. “For people who want to be on this street, some have been waiting for years.”
One of the reasons for this Larchmont resurgence, says Larchmont Village Business Improvement District co-executive director Heather Duffy Boylston, is the newly renovated Larchmont Mercantile: a complex of 13 storefronts purchased by real estate investment firm Christina in 2018 for nearly $24 million . Those stores, including Skin Laundry, The Scent Room and Holey Grail Donuts, all opened within the past year, and while Larchmont Village was left with numerous vacancies post-COVID, Boylston says there are few, if any, open properties at the moment. She also notes that Larchmont’s Q terms – which were written in the 1990s to limit the number of restaurants allowed on the street, resulting in the boom of bakeries, coffee shops and take-out counters currently filling the area – are coming to an end. working to be improved. changed to welcome additional formal dining options.
Devin Klein, vp of retail consulting at commercial real estate firm JLL, says rents have risen slightly due to a lack of inventory. “It’s kind of like the Abbot Kinney of the Eastside,” he adds, although costs per square foot in the area range from $6 to $12, about half that of the Westside neighborhood.
However, Sergio Boccato, owner of the popular Larchmont Wine & Cheese, which has been on the street for 28 years, says he doesn’t believe maintenance has kept pace with rising rents. “Our streets look a bit, forgive my French, but they look like shit,” with graffiti and buckling sidewalks. But Boccato acknowledges that with the new businesses that have come in lately, it’s become less of a restaurant or clothing line, it’s just been a little more diversity on the streets.
In response, Boylston points to the installation of bistro lighting along the boardwalk as an improvement, noting, “The property owners and merchants are continually working as partners with our town to preserve and improve our village for years to come. Larchmont has had an amazing renaissance, but we still maintain the character of a town square in the middle of a big city.”
This story first appeared in the September 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.