The best art in the Southland is not always at the museum. Los Angeles businesses with paintings, sculpture, photography and more combine and complement one and the other. Restaurants, coffee shops and bookstores use art for a rounded and enhanced experience. These venues set a new standard and a new way to enjoy the creativity that is real art.
Rose City Pizza
3588 Rosemead Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Craving for a taste of New York, but you’re in the San Gabriel Valley? Head over to Rose City Pizza, where you can get a slice of creative pie (or a gigantic burger, or a monster hot dog or some delicious pasta), wash it down with a craft beer and also feast your eyes on art by local artists. The pizzeria features the work of a local artist every month on its walls.
The Last Bookstore
453 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The unique becomes unusual and art becomes plainly surreal at The Last Bookstore. From prison landscapes to fish bowl-headed statues, and from graffiti murals to a mammoth head, every visitor is struck by the power of art to invoke thought. Even the store’s monitors, registers and keyboards are custom art pieces, and there are books for sale. Machines as art are seen in the light fixtures and a “book and wire” mural. It may not be the last bookstore in Los Angeles, but it is the last of its kind. A fully functional bookstore, it also has used books. If endless hours of browsing fail to entertain, upstairs there are shops selling antique nostalgia and a camera store.
Primera Taza Coffee House
1850 1/2 E 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Specializing in gourmet teas and Central American coffees, the Primera Taza (first cup) Coffee House also specializes in breakfast sandwiches and pastries. The atmosphere is dominated by Latino creations and photography demonstrating a strong affinity with art as cultural legacy. For lunch and afternoons salads, turkey or tuna sandwiches and soft drinks are served. The community center next door has art exhibits representing local artists and collaborative projects, as well as special events and creative training seminars. There is free WiFi for guests and parking is in the rear.
AMI Japanese Restaurant
1051 Broxton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
High-end Japanese cuisine and service is enhanced by neon light art, fusion décor and tapestry. Red light themes, upstairs and floor level, are reminiscent of modern downtown Tokyo. Even the sushi served is an art form itself with every dish expertly prepared. Hitting the leading edge of fusion restaurants on the West Coast, the AMI breaks all traditions yet maintains the unique flavors of Japan in food and ambiance.
Tamayo Restaurant and Art Gallery
5300 E Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90022
Beyond its hacienda façade and Mexican cuisine, the Tamayo Restaurant is a celebration of Mexican and Latin American artists and culture. Original art in paintings and sculptures complements the dining experience and sparks conversation. The separate gallery bursts with color, pattern and texture, creating a genuine Hispanic art experience. The food is made with authentic recipes and all fresh ingredients.
Robert Cuthbert is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. His work can be found on Examiner.com.