Is bigger better? Downtown Los Angeles restaurateurs seem to think so as more and more are opening up restaurants in massive spaces; some more than triple the size of the average establishment in other parts of the city. The “go big” mentality shows that restauranteurs and investors are betting big on the ever-increasing traffic in our city’s center and the growing number of people who now call Downtown “home.”

At least seven establishments with almost 6,000 sq. feet of space, or more than 200 seats, will either open soon or have in the last 12 months, reported Among those joining the movement is Ralph Verdugo, owner of the Los Angeles Brewing Company, an 8,000 sq. foot brewery with 500 seats. The $1.6 million he invested into his business is also a reflection of his faith in the direction of Downtown. “A few years ago it would have been crazy to open something that is big,” Verdugo said. “Now we have 50,000 people living in Downtown who don’t like corporate too much, and they want to support local mom and pop shops.”

Jonathan Mgaieth’s business plan agrees with this sentiment. His sister establishment, Figaro Broadway, is set to open this month and will feature an impressive 9,000-square-foot ground floor, an 8,600-square-foot upper level and seating for more than 500 people. This is quite the real estate upgrade from his first restaurant, Figaro Bistro, in Los Feliz, a “cozy” 2,500-square-floor spot.

Responding to an influx of young professionals to the financial district and to the fact that Downtown LA is a notoriously high traffic destination, investors are scooping up large commercial spaces and showing no signs of slowing down.

“In addition to attracting well-known chefs and adventurous diners, the Central City is luring culinary entrepreneurs willing to think very big,” said Initiatives like Bringing Back Broadway, a 10-year plan to revitalize the historic district, serve as further proof that the future is bright for Downtown.

The trend is providing not only momentum moving into 2013 but also a sizeable haven for urban foodies who will be catching the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, or hopefully soon, our hometown NFL team, in a playoff game.


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