Posted yesterday on the Skunks of Los Feliz blog was word that the Hollywood Hills Restaurant on Vermont Avenue (just up from Hollywood Boulevard) had died. Having enjoyed the decent and friendly place on several occasions, I was saddened at the news but not at all surprised, for its demise was definitely hastened by a conflict with the owners of the Il Capriccio CafÈ a couple doors up the street whose proprietor also controls the driveway between the two establishments leading from the street to the parking lots in the rear.
Up until February of this year, there had been a shared-use agreement between the two eateries regarding the driveway, but a simmering dispute over HHR customers allegedly blocking the narrow passage or parking in Il Cap’s parking area led not only to the legal termination of the agreement, but also to Il Cap’s owner building an outrageous (but fully legal) five-foot-tall cinderblock wall that fully sealed off the parking spaces behind the HHR.
As a show of support I visited the place February 29 just after the wall went up. The owners and staff seemed upbeat ó even talked about tearing down enough of the north end of the expansive space to make their own damn driveway. I hoped for the best, but knowing the village and its convenience-hungry patrons, death by this forced parking deprivation seemed shamefully inevitable.
A drive-by found the place duly dark last night. But while I was taking the included pix, a man entered through a door in the drawn security shutters. I called out asking if the place was indeed closed for good and he came out telling me that he expects it to reopen in a few weeks. “New owners,” he added, “but the menu will be the same ó better!” And the parking problems with the other restaurant? He smiled and said confidently that had all been worked out. Perhaps a driveway of their own ó and new life ó is on the way.