As a neighborhood resource for parents and soon-to-be parents in and around Los Angeles, The Agency’s Michelle Schwartz is interviewing dynamic moms and dads and asking for their valuable insights on the neighborhoods they live in. Today, Michelle talks with Adam Fleischman, CEO of the Umami Restaurant Group. Originally from Maryland, Adam lives in the Brookside neighborhood with his wife Shanna and their two children, ages five and three. An enclave of eight, beautiful tree-lined streets, Brookside lies adjacent to Hancock Park and Windsor Square.
Where are you originally from and where do you live now? Tell me a little about why you love living in your neighborhood?
Adam Fleischman: My wife Shanna and I are originally from Maryland, and we have lived in Brookside for four years. We adore the houses in the area, and the central location of the neighborhood. We love having a real brook in our backyard, and a great lot size. We happen to live on an old street lined with old trees. It has an East Coast appeal and a small town real neighborhood vibe. It comes complete with an annual block party and neighborhood meetings, as well as email blasts.
What are the best ways to keep your kids active in the neighborhood?
AF: We met many children at the library park across from L.A. High. Although it needs to be revamped, we met several lovely children and families whom we are now close. Our children love to play in the backyard to which we invite our neighborhood buddies and have a blast. We also love Creative Seeds (photo, at right), which is a portable music class, among other things, where the children are encouraged to drum, dance, and get down. They attend lots of birthday parties at places like ROMP on Highland or Pan Pacific Park.
Would you say you live in a kid-friendly area? Are most nearby restaurants kid-friendly?
AF: It’s pretty kid friendly. We usually leave our area to eat at Umami in Hollywood or 800 degrees in Westwood. A neighborhood place that is really good is Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea. As far as kid-friendly, we head to The Grove where, between Umami, Maggianos, and The Original Farmers Market, our children have their fill. I think The Grove would probably offer the most kid-friendly scene, meaning children’s menus, staff as well as restaurant culture friendly towards children’s needs. Across the street Mendocino Farms offers delicious soups, meals and fast service, perfect for families.
Where are you and your wife’s favorite places to go without the kids?
AF: We go to new restaurants downtown or anywhere there’s an opening really. We travel a lot too. We are so centrally located that it is not a schlep to travel anywhere. We are a hop skip from any freeway and a multitude of restaurants and great shopping.
What are your easy and quick go-to shopping places for the kids, from clothes to haircuts.
AF: Larchmont! Landis’ Labyrinth Toy Store has anything you could possibly want for your children or others. Village Pizzeria never disappoints nor does Le Petit Greek. Chevalier’s Books (photo, at right) will keep you looking for hardbacks. The Paper Source on Fairfax and Third has fabulous cards.
Tell us about any rare gems or best-kept secrets in the area that make your life a bit easier.
AF: Well, we happen to be big big fans of Vintage Weave on Third Street. Kathy Delgado (owner) has an exquisitely curated store filled with French treasures. Right next door Satin Soles does fab mani’s and pedi’s. Tiffany and Sarah are my wife’s personal favorites.
Visit Umami.com to learn more about Adam’s company, Umami Restaurant Group, and for locations and info about all of his great restaurants, including Umami, 800 Degrees, UMAMIcatessen, Red Medcine and Roadhouse L.A.