Is downtown Culver City a food desert? On its face, the question is absurd–it is loaded with restaurants. But are any of them any good?
Culver City used to be, well, a bit of a hole. Things began changing in a big way in 2006 when Tender Greens opened. Many changes followed–the northern Culver Blvd. drag is loaded restaurants with pleasant outdoor seating. The Southern side is similar, also has an Arclight, and a bunch of what used to be considered “upscale” chains. Nearly ten years on from Tender Greens’ opening, the truth is that the food in Culver is mostly poor and out of date. The chains are awful. Places like Lyfe Kitchen, sake house, and Meet in Paris are all okay. They are nice places to sit and have a drink with friends. None is a food destination.
A surprising amount of restaurants have gone out of business in downtown Culver. Chop Daddy’s, the place Bacoshop is replacing, isn’t even the most recent. The side streets are littered with closures. Burger Lounge, another mediocrity open on Washington, is almost always empty. Picnic LA, at the corner of Culver and Duquesne, is actively terrible and empty most of the time. Will it last the year?
The platform provides some…well, interesting changes. There’s a $6 taco place. An ice cream place from New York. A place that sells belts starting at $275 (what, you don’t want a bison belt?), There are acai bowls. A soulcycle. More stuff is going in. This is a different wave than the 2006 one–it feels a bit like a hostile invasion by the Abbott Kinney set. However, the good places are crowded, despite its off-the-beaten-path location. In the modern food age, people will travel for quality.
Word out of Eater yesterday is that Baco Mercat is opening a takeaway shop called Bacoshop in the space on Culver Blvd. where Chop Daddy’s was. Putting aside the many disputes over the food at Baco Mercat, I have always enjoyed the bacos for what they are–tasty sandwiches with unique fillings, but nothing to go nuts about.
All of the closures in Culver have surely scared places from opening there. But I think the closures are almost all explainable in terms of quality. When something good_ opens, it is pretty packed. Do the Platform and Bacoshop represent a positive trend of good places coming into Culver City? Or will these places shutter as well? It will be interesting to see what happens.
Does anyone on this board have a go-to place in Downtown Culver? Am I missing any truly great place to eat, whether it is casual or expensive? If so, I’d like to know!