THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK – LARCHMONT BOULEVARD STYLE

Since the time Larchmont Boulevard was first developed as a shopping destination in 1921, the street has welcomed new businesses to serve the neighborhood and beyond. This year is no different. Three businesses saw their first New Year’s Day on the boulevard while a fourth, opened just after the holiday.

Café Parisien offers indoor and outdoor dining

Café Parisien, which opened on January 9th, is the newest kid on the block.  Owner and chef, Sebastien Cornic, who also owns the Meet in Paris bistro in Culver City, said he came to Larchmont Boulevard because it was the right spot for his new café.

“We were looking for a village feel,” said Cornic, “a pedestrian street, which is key for the success of a café.”

After only two weeks on the boulevard, Cornic said that he was pleasantly surprised by the reception Café Parisien has received.

“I am amazed by the word of mouth, the speed of light of word of mouth on Larchmont,” Cornic said. “We have actually run out of almond croissants every single day since we opened.”

As a Paris native whose own father owned several brasseries, Cornic has a clear vision of what he wants Café Parisien to be—a place where all patrons feel welcome, whether they are hopping in for a baguette from the grab-and-go counter or sitting down to a full-service meal.

“At one table you might have someone with a croissant and a latte and the next table, they’re going to have steak frites and wine,” said Cornic. “That’s the flexibility I’m really looking for.”

After a few opening weeks of serving breakfast and lunch, Cornic said that the café is now prepared to offer full dinner service that includes fresh mussels that arrive daily, snails and an “amazing” wine list of which 80% is composed of well-priced boutique French wines.  Quite simply, as Cornic said, “Get ready for dinner!”

Inside the Larchmont Compass real estate office. Interior Design: Tom Boland. Photo credit: Peter Vitale

Further south on the boulevard, Compass, the real estate company, has opened what it calls, “L.A.’s Most Community-and Architecture-Centric Real Estate Office.”  Bret Parsons, a long-time Hancock Park resident and the Executive Director of the Architectural Division of Compass, explained why the company opened this specialized office on Larchmont Boulevard.

“Corporate felt that an architecturally-oriented office was important because Hancock Park is the geographic center of Los Angeles,” said Parsons, “and has the greatest concentration of architectural homes within Los Angeles.”

Parsons, a lecturer and author of three books on architecture, said the office was designed to be a community outpost.  It spans the entire second floor of the 1924 Keystone Building which now houses the store, Hardware, on the ground floor.

“We have a magnificent balcony on the back of the building that overlooks downtown L.A. where community groups can have any kind of meetings they want there,” said Parsons.  “They just have to call and book the space.  We can have up to 100 people at no charge.”

In addition to housing 24 real estate agents, the office provides an array of services and resources.  These include access to an extensive architecture and design library, a resource center referring architects, contractors, landscapers and other professionals, an on-call legal service for real estate transaction questions and even a travel agency that can coordinate tours to architectural destinations that are local, domestic or international.

There are 200+ colors to choose from at Lip Lab by BITE

Another Larchmont newcomer with an uncommon approach is Lip Lab by BITE.  Described as a “lipstick lovers’ paradise” by store manager, Marie Chan Konya, Lip Lab offers two kinds of guided journeys for those who want to create their own personalized custom lipstick. The A La Carte Lip Service allows customers to select a shade from over 200 pigments, decide on a finish—matte, satin, luminous or sheer—and even add a flavor such as cherry, mint or vanilla.  For an even more personalized experience, there’s the Bespoke Lip Service where customers can create two customized shades with a desired finish and flavor. Both services include a Lip Lab Color Artist to help customers walk through the process.

“Our customers consist of all beauty-levels,” said Chan Konya. “If you’re a beauty beginner and not sure what you’re looking for exactly, your Lip Lab Color Artist is expertly trained to help you create your perfect shade that compliments your skin tone and your personal style.”

The Lip Lab by BITE on Larchmont Boulevard was opened last summer and stands as the only one of its kind in Southern California. Along with its Lip Services, the store also carries BITE Beauty’s collection of ready-to-wear Amuse Bouche lipsticks.  A private room in the back can be booked for events, butChan Konya pointed out that there’s no need to wait for a special occasion.

“One time, a few friends weren’t celebrating anything and came in just because,” she said. “They were so fascinated by how we mixed unexpected pigments to create each color. The process is great for solo appointments, but it’s also fun with a small group!”

The interior of the Buck Mason Larchmont store

The men’s clothing store, Buck Mason, rounds out the class of newcomers.  Originally founded in Venice, California by Erik Allen and Sasha Koehn in 2013, the Larchmont location opened in early November and is the fifth store the duo has launched.   Offering a selection of shirts, jackets, pants, jeans, sweaters, t-shirts and more, Buck Mason focuses on creating high-quality interpretations of modern American classics.

“Buck Mason is all about being super approachable and simplifying the men’s wardrobe,” said Koehn. “You are able to just walk into our store, pick ten things, and they really do all go together.”

Koehn said he was drawn to Larchmont Boulevard by its lively nature as a pedestrian street as well as being surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

“We’re really into the idea of generational shopping,” he said.  “With sons and fathers and sons and mothers coming in and shopping together.  We knew this neighborhood would definitely be one of the most conducive for that in the city.”

Koehn said as word gets out about the new Larchmont location, the store has also become a destination for men from other mid-city neighborhoods.  In addition to the new store, Koehn and his team have also leased a building a few doors up to house their headquarters.

“We’re really excited and honored to kind have embedded ourselves into the community,” Koehn said.

And, there’s a third location Koehn has spotted in the neighborhood.

“My wife and I actually moved here in December,” said Koehn. “So, I’m all in.”

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