Musso & Frank

Historic restaurant Musso & Frank had planned an expansion of their dining area to celebrate their 100th anniversary. They were well under construction when the city dropped a bombshell - they also needed approval from the Planning Department, which typically takes 9 - 12 months.
First, we shortened the timeline by proving that "Musso and Frank" had grandfathered rights to serve alcohol. This was harder than you'd think for an establishment that famously served Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, and many other icons of the early 20th century, but we got it done. Then, we met with the local Neighborhood Council, LAPD, and City Council to secure their support for a public hearing waiver. After all was said and done, the city issued an approval letter less than 6 weeks after submitting the application.

The Whaler Venice

The folks behind "The Whaler" were told that permitting their sidewalk patio was an impossible task. It was located in Venice Beach, after all, so it required approval from too many agencies with too many conflicting requirements. They were told that too many neighborhood groups would stand in the way. That's where we came in. We developed a strategy and started working with Building & Safety, the Health Department, Public Works, the Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Coastal Commission. We worked with the applicants on a neighborhood outreach strategy and lobbied city and state officials for their support. City Planning did not want to approve our request, but our work with neighborhood groups and the LAPD ended up being too compelling. In the end, the Area Planning and State Coastal Commissions overruled the Planning Department and approved the patio. We achieved the impossible, and now you can enjoy a drink on their beautiful beachfront sidewalk patio.


Popular Frogtown restaurant "Salazar" is known for its extensive patio adjacent to the LA River. The restaurant is so popular that they often have a crowd of customers waiting for tables in front of the host stand. The owner asked us if we could get that area permitted for alcohol service so customers could be served a drink while they waited.
Sounds easy enough, but there was a catch: this area was initially approved as a loading zone. After working with the city to develop a creative and cost-effective permit strategy that included a single request for the alcohol and the loading zone, city staff changed their minds and refused to include the loading zone in our alcohol request. Instead of starting over with a new time-consuming and expensive filing like we were told to do, we used an administrative process to remove the entire loading zone from the property. This allowed us to move forward with the alcohol application and save our client thousands of dollars in filing and mailing fees.

The Doughroom

The owner of "The Doughroom" in Mar Vista wanted to expand his restaurant into an adjacent unit, but parking requirements stood in his way. We worked with the neighborhood to secure their support for a parking variance and expected to have our request approved without any issues. However, the approval letter from the Office of Zoning Administration required a valet during all operating hours. Providing a valet during all hours of operation is very expensive and largely unnecessary in the age of ride-sharing apps. So, we successfully negotiated with the Office of Zoning Administration to require valet only on the weekends and then only after 6:00 pm. Because we know the process so well, we were able to do this without a costly and time-consuming protest saving our client thousands of dollars and securing an approval letter that works for his business.

Arts District Brewing Company

Community support and zoning solutions for Arts District craft brewery.
Zoning for Arts District Brewing Company was a case of anticipating a hitch. Even though preliminary meetings with the city led us to believe the Brewpub would be grandfathered rights to a basement bar area, we were skeptical enough to add zone variance to our conditional use application. It’s a good thing we did since the city later decided they would consider the basement new floor area. This project also required additional community outreach to ease opposition to new bars in the Arts District. We defended our client and saw Arts District Brewing Company sail to success!

Hotel Erwin

More hangout space for a Venice Beach hotspot.
With its sweeping views of Los Angeles and its beautiful sunsets, Hotel Erwin’s rooftop bar is one of the most popular haunts in Venice. Naturally, an expansion is in order, but the process of getting approval isn’t quite as easy as drinking the day away. We worked closely with the boutique hotel’s management to navigate the necessary red tape, negotiating with health department heads to keep the roof in action. We also helped with creative solutions to utilize square footage, creating kitchen space and storage in areas that might not normally be approved. Of course, the Erwin remains a favorite among beachside barflies, including us!


Expanding the possibilities of deliciousness.
The sweets experts behind beloved Beverly Hills-born confectionary Sprinkles first called on us to assist in the expansion of their flagship store. They wanted to create a kitchen that was up to code for food processing—namely, to make ice cream on site. We thought that was a great idea, so we provided kitchen design plans that met county and state health department standards. Since those first scoops were served, we have expedited the opening of several more Sprinkles locations. Along the way, we have sampled a lot of ice cream flavors and received part of our payment in cupcakes. What a sweet perk!