Neighborhood Watch

By Dick Anderson with Jasmine Teran Photos by Marc Campos

Eagle Rock and Highland Park have become magnets for new businesses, including the resurrected Eagle Theatre (now home to Vidiots). What’s changed—and what’s still in fashion?

Talk to any Oxy alumni long enough about their fondest college memories, and inevitably the conversation will turn to their favorite destinations close to campus. Eateries rank high on any list, and many longstanding favorites remain in business today—Casa Bianca (founded in 1955), Pat & Lorraine’s (1977), and Señor Fish (1995) among them. With a constant influx of new businesses, it was hard to limit this list to 10 notable neighbors new and old, but we tried. (Share your favorites with us.)

If streaming movies is not your scene:
4884 Eagle Rock Blvd.

Maggie Mackay traces her love of film to Rare Bird Video—the neighborhood video rental store that she grew up with in New York City in the 1980s. Through her work as senior programmer of the Los Angeles Film Festival, director of nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and myriad other roles over the last 25 years, “I’ve always been very devoted to connecting audiences with film and connecting artists to audiences,” she says.

Vidiots reopened for business in June 2023 at the former home of the Eagle Theatre,
“I’m very proud that we’ve been able to bring something back to the community,” says Maggie Mackay of Vidiots.

As streaming grew in popularity—embodied by Netflix’s shift away from its bedrock mail-order video rental service—Mackay grew increasingly vocal about her concerns with a streaming-only world. “I was largely dismissed by most of my colleagues—and many of my friends—as a bit paranoid,” she recalls.

But because she was vocal enough about it, several friends and colleagues in the film industry quietly started reaching out to her amid rumors that Vidiots—the iconic Santa Monica video store turned nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and sharing physical media—was struggling to survive. “I think of Vidiots as a cornerstone of culture in Los Angeles,” Mackay says. But even with a philanthropic lifeline from two major donors in 2015, the organization needed an executive director with the vision to keep Vidiots alive.

 “I had never raised any money before—I really was squarely in the curatorial space—but my passion definitely came into play.” Mackay says. The first time she met Vidiots co-founders Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber, “I just knew there was no way I was gonna be able to walk away from it,” she says—and in 2016, she joined Vidiots as its first executive director, a position she retains today.

“They took a huge risk on me—I didn’t have any experience raising money or leading an organization in that way,” Mackay admits. Nevertheless, she has been instrumental in raising more than $2.4 million to relaunch Vidiots and rehabilitate the Eagle Theatre—an improbable outcome for a venue that had not screened a movie since 2000. How did that come to pass?

“Having lived on the Eastside of Los Angeles for almost 20 years, I knew that what we were really missing over here, especially Northeast L.A., was a gathering space for film lovers and a real independent movie theater.” From gas stations to warehouses, “I was looking for anything big enough to house the collection so that we wouldn’t sacrifice the video store to open a theater. The heart and soul of our project is the video store.”

What she did not expect to find was a historic movie theater—much less one, like the Eagle, whose landlords had been former customers of Vidiots going back to the 1980s. “They very much wanted the theater to stay an art space, and they liked the idea of the space being run by women,” Mackay says.

“Patty and Cathy were really ahead of their time when it came to supporting independent artists and to connecting their work to audiences,” she adds. “And they were also ahead of their time when it came to understanding what a community space for everybody would look like. Sometimes I think that the success of the movie theater has been so immediate and impactful that Vidiots’ legacy as an L.A. entity gets a little bit clouded.”

Vidiots already enjoys “a lovely community collaboration” with Oxy, Mackay says, “and we’re committed to further deepening our relationship.” In March, the Media Arts and Culture Department presented a Vidiots screening of writer-director Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger (1990), including a Q&A with Burnett and composer Stephen James Taylor. “We had an incredible group of students there with [Visiting Assistant Professor] John Trafton’s class,” Mackay says. “We’re looking forward to welcoming more students both for events but also an internship program, which we hope to launch soon.”

An art and art history alumnus of Oxy, Pablo Nukaya-Petralia ’20 started volunteering at Vidiots in May 2023, just before its official opening that June. “I began literally my first day back in L.A. after grad school,” he says. “I split my time between the video store and the theater, so on any given day I might be renting out to customers, organizing the store, scanning tickets, or chatting with visitors.”

Pablo Nukaya-Petralia ’20 started volunteering at Vidiots in May 2023.
“To paraphrase a line from The Player: ‘Physical media, now more than ever!’” says Vidiots volunteer Pablo Nukaya-Petralia ’20.

He enjoys the organic discovery that comes from being in the store, “where I can very easily follow my own personal interests without being impeded by a streaming platform not owning the rights to a certain title. It’s nice to have a place that lets me indulge in exactly what I want, like watching the complete works of Parker Posey or Grateful Dead concert films.”

Nukaya-Petralia completed his master’s in art history from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he wrote his thesis on the collages of artist and author Eve Babitz. In addition to volunteering at Vidiots, he is working as a studio assistant for a composer and aiding with music for a “very exciting documentary” that should be coming out this fall, as well as writing his own music (he keeps his personal copy of Todd Haynes’ 1995 film Safe on his desk for inspiration).

“Organizations like Vidiots do the important work of maintaining access to new and old works that had a limited release, were pulled from a streaming service, or are simply hard to find,” Nukaya-Petralia says. He implores readers to support small businesses and nonprofits that champion physical media.

“It’s not easy running a movie theater,” Mackay adds. “Every day it’s like whack-a-mole, with a new problem to solve. But when we get positive feedback from the community, it really puts gas in the tank.

“Last night, we had over 100 people for Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003), which is a Tsai Ming-liang movie nearly without dialogue. And people stood outside talking about it for an hour after the movie ended. There aren’t too many places where you’d see that kind of response. So, it’s a joy to show movies here. It makes all of the complexity and difficulty worth it 100 times over.”

Flight of the Eagle

1929: Yosemite Theater opens

• May 10, 1929: The Yosemite Theater opens at the corner of Yosemite Drive and Eagle Rock Boulevard with a vaudeville revue and the pledge of “clean, wholesome, up-to-the-minute entertainment.” On May 12, the Yosemite screens its premiere feature, The Younger Generation, starring Jean Hersholt and directed by Frank Capra.

• June 1937: Following a remodeling, the venue reopens as the New Eagle Theatre (shortened to the Eagle Theatre in 1939).

Fall 1974: Walnut Properties President Vincent Miranda—operator of the Pussycat adult movie theater chain—buys the Eagle, prompting fears of bringing X-rated films to the neighborhood. (On Figueroa Street, the Highland Theater screens Deep Throat and other adult fare until protests from a group called Stamp Out Pornography, aka STOP, shuts it down in December 1974.) Contrary to legend, the Eagle never shows pornos: After Walnut spends $50,000 to refurbish the theater, Steven Lane’s Great Western Theaters chain leases the Eagle, losing more than $15,000 in seven months of operation.

October 1975: Emilio Lujan subleases the Eagle from Great Western, screening mainstream fare (including monthly screenings of family films sponsored by local law enforcement). After Lujan closes the Eagle in December 1976, the theater remains shuttered for 21 months as Walnut seeks a new tenant—or a new owner.

1978: The Eagle reopens.

• August 1978: The Eagle reopens under new management, mixing second-run fare with celluloid classics. Ads in the Occidental newspaper tout $1 tickets for students on Wednesday nights. 2000: After decades of fits and starts, the Eagle closes as a theater for the last time. In the early 2000s, the building gets a new tenant: the Brazilian-based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which operates there until April 2019.

• June 2023: Nearly 3½ years after signing a lease with the owners of the Eagle, Vidiots opens for business.

If you’re looking for cold comfort:
Foster’s Freeze
4967 Eagle Rock Blvd.

Nearly 16 years after entrepreneur George Foster opened his first Foster’s Freeze in Inglewood—bringing soft-serve ice cream to the Southern California masses—the franchise came to Eagle Rock in January 1962. Countless cones, dishes, sundaes, and shakes have been consumed ever since.

Foster's Freeze in Eagle Rock.

Fast-food neighbors may come and go—KFC gave way to Del Taco in 2016, and the Burger King next door was recently razed, to be replaced by another Starbucks—but Foster’s Freeze is thriving. In an Instagram poll last fall, Oxy students were asked, “What classic spot is still a student fave?” Foster’s Freeze (39%) iced the competition, outpolling Colorado Boulevard mainstays Cindy’s (34%) and Casa Bianca (26%).

In a decidedly unscientific survey on Facebook, ’80s-era Oxy alumni shared their own Foster’s faves. “The Peanut Butter Milkshake was a large contributor to my ‘freshman 20’—made worse when we actually bought a blender and made our own in the dorm,” Jill (Johnson) Gold ’83 recalls. “For me, it was a Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake,” adds Bill Cochran ’88. “The Root Beer Freeze was excellent,” raves Breck Tostevin ’83.

Whether it’s because of the restaurant’s royal-blue exterior or its authentically throwback vibe, Foster’s Freeze occasionally slips into the culture as well. The Atwater Village location pops up in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), and last year, eagle-eyed New York Times readers may have clocked a glimpse of the Eagle Rock eatery accompanying a profile of actress Sasha Calle, who appeared as Supergirl in 2023’s The Flash).

George Foster sold his interest in the company in 1951, and Foster’s Freeze has changed corporate ownership multiple times. While the number of locations is down considerably from its peak, new Fosters franchises are springing up in California. Fosters dropped the apostrophe years ago, but the punctuation mark remains a fixture on the signage at older locales such as Eagle Rock. “Little Foster,” its smiling soft-serve mascot, greets patrons of all ages—and with temperatures rising, the prospect of a chocolate-dipped cone sounds too good to pass up.

If you need a cup of coffee:
Café de Leche

5000 York Blvd.

Anya Schodorf’s mother, Rosa, was visiting from her native Nicaragua while Anya and her husband, Matthew, were in the planning stages of opening a cafe in Highland Park. As Anya tells the story, “We were having breakfast and there it was—my mother calling out to my husband, ‘Mateo, pasame mi café de leche.’” Matthew turned to Anya and declared, “That is it. That will be the name of our cafe.”

Cafe de Leché in Highland Park.
Café de Leche’s flagship location opened in 2008.

The Schodorfs launched Café de Leche in 2008, and its small-batch, hand-crafted coffee quickly gained a following in the Oxy community. The following year, then-President Jonathan Veitch arrived on campus, and he fast became a superfan. “I used to go there every day before work and order a large iced latte,” he says. “My wife, Sarah, and I became very good friends with the owners. Since then, Café de Leche has moved out to Alta­dena [opening a second location in 2015]—and so have we!”

In an Oxy Instagram survey last fall, Café de Leche brewed up a win in the uber-competitive coffee category, with 39% of the vote, edging out nearby Kumquat Coffee Co. (31%), and Muddy Paw (30%) on Eagle Rock Boulevard. Its comfortable couches—as well as a tasty selection of pastries, bagels, and tamales—make it ideal for a study break or catching up with friends.

“Sometimes when I take my first sip of café de leche in the morning, as if by magic, my soul is transported back home,” writes Anya, who grew up in San José, Costa Rica, and Glendale. “The aroma of the coffee in the house flirts with my senses and creates a feeling of comfort, a feeling of home, a sense of family.” For the Scho­dorfs’ Oxy family, Café de Leche feels like home.

If spinning vinyl is your thing:
Arroyo Records

5123½ York Blvd.

Growing up in Chino Hills, Daniel Clodfelter got turned on to vinyl records while exploring his dad’s record collection—from Buffalo Springfield to the Repo Man soundtrack (1984), with songs by Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Iggy Pop, and other hardcore punk icons. “That album really got me into ’80s punk,” says Clodfelter. He soon started collecting vinyl himself, buying his first turn­table at age 18 and parsing through countless record store bins around the country over many years as a touring musician.

Arroyo Records in Highland Park.
Arroyo Records recently made the Los Angeles Times’ list of the 40 best record stores in and around the city. 

At the beginning of COVID, Clodfelter was working at a health food store in San Dimas—his day job for 17 years—and a new dad. “When everything was shutting down, I took a tiny break—my son was 6 months old,” he recalls. Turning to other means to make money, he started selling large chunks of his record collection online, “and it just snowballed from that.”

Today, Arroyo Records occupies a York Boulevard space that has been a destination for vinyl enthusiasts for the last decade. It previously housed Permanent Records, whose owner, Lance Barresi, reached out to Clodfelter when he was looking to relocate. By then, Clodfelter had started selling his friends’ collections as well, “and I started to think about storefronts when this opportunity came along,” he says. In September 2020, he quit his other job to devote himself to running Arroyo Records full-time. “I just ran with it and it’s been great.”

Clodfelter keeps his inventory fresh by constantly replenishing the store’s offerings with vinyl gems from newly acquired collections. (The “coolest thing” he’s ever found? A 1967 promo copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico among a stack of dollar-bin-quality classical LPs.) “It’s really fun seeing people’s collections and hearing their connection with the records and meeting people whose tastes are similar to mine.”

Arroyo Records’ inventory is about one- third new records, with the rest being mostly used vinyl. (There’s a tiny space dedicated to cassette tapes, and Clodfelter is “trying to figure out how to fit CDs in here, too.”)

The demographic for the store is “all over the place,” he says. “There are high school kids, college students [including Oxy], and people who’ve been buying records since the 1960s.” And, of course, there are Swifties: For Record Store Day in May, Clodfelter got an allotment of 20 copies of The Tortured Poets Department, with an exclusive postcard from Taylor. Those LPs sold out quickly.

On the home front, Clodfelter is raising a next-generation music fan: his 4-year-old son. “He has a few favorite records. He likes Lana [Del Rey] and old doo wop and ’50s rock ’n’ roll like the Trashmen. He likes the Charlie Brown cartoons so he likes ‘Charlie Brown,’ by the Coasters. He’s a cool little dude.”

If you’re visiting Oxy Arts:
4751 York Blvd.

Skaf’s on York
4753 York Blvd.

In 2015, Occidental College purchased a 5,400-square-foot commercial building on the northeast corner of York Boulevard and Armadale Avenue—just a block south of campus. In addition to luring the emerging York retail scene closer to the College, plans were to renovate the building “to make it more obvious that Oxy is nearby,” then-Director of Communications Jim Tranquada noted. (The prior tenant was the Ocxy Store, a purveyor of liquor and convenience goods.)

Next-door neighbors: Michael Robles of Bagel+Slice, left, and Chris Skaf of Skaf’s on York.
Next-door neighbors: Michael Robles of Bagel+Slice, left, and Chris Skaf of Skaf’s on York.

Plans came together to restore the 1920s structure into three distinct spaces—and in May 2019, Oxy Arts, the College’s community-based arts hub, opened its doors at 4757 York Boulevard. But it would be three more years before the first of two new restaurants would open in the adjacent spaces.

First up was Bagel+Slice, Blaze Pizza co-founder Brad Kent’s latest contribution to the culinary landscape and his initial foray into bagels after years of tinkering with his recipe. Months later, Kent approached longtime associate Michael Robles—manager of his Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria in Grand Central Market—with an offer he could not refuse: the chance to buy not only Olio’s Market location but Bagel+Slice as well.

“Brad has a good heart—that’s a big opportunity that he gave to me,” Robles says sitting outside Bagel+Slice one afternoon in mid-April. “I’m going to continue his legacy and do everything good, but I think it’s going to be even better.”

Robles has already brought a bit of Mexican flair to the menu, serving up a Oaxacan mole pizza with ingredients straight from Mexico. From pizza to bagels, “I make every­thing right here—the dough, the sausage, the onion sauce, everything is in-house,” he says. “The neighborhood is really nice and more people are coming here all the time.” 

Bagel+Slice and Skaf's on York
Top: Bagel+Slice’s offerings include an everything bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers, and dill, and a Margherita pizza. Above: Shish kebab and shish tawook from Skaf’s on York, with an exclusive vegan pom-berry sorbet from Moo Moo Mia.

One door down, brothers Daniel and Chris Skaf opened Skaf’s on York in March 2023—the latest iteration of a family-centric franchise that dates back to 1999. That’s when their dad, Salim, opened Skaf’s Grill in North Hollywood in 1999. “My aunt had always been the chef in the family, and a lot of recipes are hers,” Chris explains. A quarter-century ago, “The restaurant industry was so different,” he adds: “There was no social media, everything cost much less, and you could take your time to develop a client base.”

As the brothers got older, they started helping out more with the family business—both at their dad’s original location as well as their mother’s offshoot, Skaf’s Lebanese Cuisine in Glendale, which opened in 2007. “My brother and I always wanted to do our own thing,” Chris says—and in 2012, he and Daniel stumbled upon a space on Brand Boulevard in Glendale. Subsequently, they opened the third Skaf’s location that July. But over Memorial Day Weekend 2013, an early-morning fire broke out in the building when an appliance short-circuited in the apartment above the restaurant—and the entire structure was demolished in 2014.

After opening a side project in Glendale, selling Cornish hens and chicken sandwiches, the brothers signed a lease with Oxy in 2019 to bring Skaf’s to York Boulevard. “I’ve always wanted to be in Northeast L.A.,” Chris says. Six months later, the pandemic hit.

“I didn’t expect Oxy to help out,” he continues, “but the College told us, ‘Take your time. Once things get back to normal somehow, we’ll restart everything.’ And that gave us the breathing room to wait it out and then start construction,” he adds. “We’re forever grateful for how Oxy treated us then and how they continue to treat us.”

Each Skaf’s location has a slightly different vibe. “My dad’s is a typical hole-in-the- wall—you come for the food, you come for the environment. Glendale is a little bit bigger in terms of the dining room, but that place is strictly about the food. For this one, we didn’t want to make it too nice where people can’t come here for casual dinner. This feels nice and approachable.”

After about six months of takeout only, Skaf’s on York expanded to full service last September. From shawarma to kebabs, “This food tastes even better when you can enjoy it on-site,” Chris says. “It’s so great to eat here and share with other people.”

If you’re a kid at heart:
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
4949 York Blvd.

Bob Baker’s career as an animator and puppeteer began after World War II, and in the decades to follow he would work in film (G.I. Blues, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), TV (Bewitched, Star Trek, NCIS), and theme parks (lending his design skills to Disneyland’s Main Street). But his biggest contribution to the entertainment landscape came in 1963, when he and partner Alton Wood turned a dilapidated special effects workshop near downtown Los Angeles into a live puppet theater and family entertainment institution: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Highland Park
Inside the renovated York Theater during a show. Photos by Chloe Rice/courtesy Bob Baker Marionette Theater

In addition to entertaining generations of L.A.-area schoolchildren, the theater was home to Baker’s collection of more than 4,000 handcrafted marionettes and was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2009. It remained open until 2018, when it lost its lease four years after Baker’s death.

Westlake’s loss is Highland Park’s gain: In 2019, the theater signed a 10-year lease to relocate to a 10,000-square-foot space at the corner of York Boulevard and North Avenue 50, which was built as a vaudeville theater in 1923. Over the last five years, “We have expanded a little bit each year in terms of using the space,” says Mary Thompson, BBMT’s director of communications. “We have a storefront now; we have people working on fabric restoration and fabrication; and we have the main theater. It’s a great home for us.”

Inside the crimson-red theater, puppet­eers perform in the round, “and they use all of the space,” Thompson says. “Kids especially like to sit on these floor cushions, so the puppets will come up and actually interact with them—maybe sit on their lap, pat them on the back, that kind of thing.” There are theater seats along the perimeter as well. as recently completed puppet parlors overlooking the stage with additional seating.

Something to Crow About is a classic springtime show about a musical day on the farm—with marionettes, of course.
Something to Crow About is a classic springtime show about a musical day on the farm—with marionettes, of course.

Despite a seating capacity of around 100 people per show, BBMT’s theater space hosts around 20,000 visitors per year. Seasonal shows such as the Halloween Spooktacular and Holiday on Strings are among the most popular offerings, and the Nutcracker show “is an annual tradition for a lot of folks,” says Thompson, who saw the show growing up.

On April 13, Hooray LA!—created in 1981 for the L.A. bicentennial and regarded as Baker’s masterpiece—returned with two new puppets (a bear and a rainbow trout) for its latest iteration, having added a mountain lion last year. Hooray LA! runs through June 16.

Its summer show, Enchanted Toy Shop, will include three new numbers that are slated for next year’s Choo Choo Revue, BBMT’s first fully original production in 40 years. “It’s a big undertaking, but it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Thompson says.

“We always say our shows are from ages 2 to toothless,” she adds, “but we have Friday night shows that attract a younger adult audience with special extras, like food pop-ups and vendors. And we do see Occidental students coming to those.”

Prior to opening to the public at its new home, the theater staged a kids’ workshop at the neighboring Oxy Arts building in 2019. BBMT has had Oxy Arts interns over the last couple of years—most recently Jonah de Forest ’24 and Willa Caspole ’24, both theater and performance studies majors—who largely helped in organizing their archives.

On April 21, an estimated 25,000 people turned out for the 10th annual Bob Baker Day at L.A. State Historical Park. “Each year we have special guests, variety acts, music, mimes, and clowns, as well as a marketplace with artisans, vendors, food trucks, and a ton of free activities,” Thompson says. “At its heart, it’s a celebration of Bob and his legacy.”

But if you want the full Bob Baker experience, the theater is the way to go—and at the end of every show, everyone gets ice cream. (That’s supposed to be a surprise, so let’s just keep that between us.)

If you’re hungry for a breakfast burrito:
4501 York Blvd.

Delia's in Highland Park.
Delia Flores serves up a burrito in her namesake restaurant.

When Delia’s restaurant opened for business in 2002, neighbors warned owners Delia and Adolfo Flores that every prior restaurant in the space had closed shop within a year. The couple was unfazed. “If your food is good, you have business wherever you go,” Delia told The Occidental newspaper in 2016.

Delia’s offers one of the best deals in town for current students: a discounted $6 breakfast burrito that is no-frills, beyond filling, and delicious any time of day. Make yourselves at home at this Oxy institution (just don’t forget to bring cash; credit cards are not accepted).

If you need a casual neighborhood nosh:

5100 York Blvd.

Joy on York Boulevard in Highland Park.

A casual neighborhood eatery in Highland Park, Joy serves up regional Taiwanese cooking inspired by Taiwan’s street food culture, such as minced pork on rice and thousand-layer pancake. Similar to Joy’s sister restaurant, Pine & Crane in Silver Lake, some of its dishes can be traced to the northern-style Chinese dishes chef Vivian Ku’s maternal grandparents grew up with before moving to Taiwan in 1949. Joy’s scallion sesame bread is baked in-house daily and sold by the loaf.

Joy opened its doors in 2018 in the longtime home of Elsa’s Bakery, a neighborhood fixture from 1976 until its closing in 2016. As an homage to Elsa’s founders Manuel and Elsy Vargas, Joy bakes Mexican wedding cookies daily and donates all the proceeds of cookie sales to a nonprofit partner in the area each month, “as we believe in contributing to the community we call home,” Ku says.

If you’re craving something sweet:
Berry Bowl

5056 York Blvd.

“Ten years ago, I came to Highland Park for a weekend of fun,” Meirav Leibovici recalls. “I have always been pretty health-conscious, and when I spent the day here, I realized there were no health food stores. It was mostly pizza and tacos.” With more young families moving east, Highland Park was poised to become “the new, artistic, family-oriented community,” she adds. “I wanted to do something with food and beverage that would enrich the lives of the people here.”

Great bowls of acai!
Great bowls of acai!

In researching the marketplace, Leibovici found that frozen yogurt was on the decline in addition to being “chemical, synthetic, sugar-added.” By comparison, acai—a superfood—was fruit-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free, with “tons of antioxidants,” she says. “And you could turn that into a healthy option and actually have fun with it because you could layer it with granola and fruits and seeds.” Thus, Berry Bowl was born.

In an Instagram survey, we asked Oxy students: “Where to walk to for something sweet?” It was a berry competitive category, but Berry Bowl came out on top, with 38% of the vote—sweet victory for Leibovici. “Berry Bowl is literally my baby because I created it from nothing,” she says. “When I walked into this space, it was a storage unit. There was a single, flickering lightbulb dangling from the ceiling.”

Berry Bowl in Highland Park.
In addition to its flagship Highland Park location, shown here, Berry Bowl opened a second store in Manhattan Beach in April.

In addition to building a business from the ground up, Leibovici hired a vegan chef to help her create the recipes. “We worked on it for over a year to perfect everything,” she says. “Berry Bowl offers a little bit of everything for everybody. If someone has a nut allergy, we have other options. We don’t do anything with dairy, and we have a lot of sugar-free options if someone’s diabetic.”

Earlier this year, for a volunteer cleanup of Highland Park, Leibovici prepared 20 juices and smoothies to give to participants “so they could have something nice to drink,” she says. “Highland Park is great, and everybody should help each other.”

Berry Bowl turns 10 in November, and Leibovici couldn’t be happier. “The feedback from my customers is very gratifying. I love my staff and the energy in the store is always positive. It’s fun to come up with new recipes. I love it all.”


Back to Top