Last week’s announcement that Yamashiro, the famed pan-Asian restaurant overlooking Hollywood, would be opening a new location in San Pedro has brought with it a new wave of interest in the still-very-active West Harbor redevelopment where Yamashiro will reside. The massive, multi-million dollar waterside makeover of the former Ports O’ Call Village property has been chugging along steadily for years now, though initial opening timelines for the project west of Long Beach have been scrapped as a result of the pandemic. And while some longtime Angelenos have been concerned about the wholesale changes to the former Ports O’ Call Village property, others are looking to West Harbor to spark a new renaissance in surrounding San Pedro.
Here’s what to know, restaurant-wise, about West Harbor, which aims to completely shift the conversation about the gigantic Los Angeles harbor area when it opens at the end of 2023.
- Yamashiro will indeed open along the water in San Pedro, and should come complete with tall warehouse-like ceilings and the same touch of kitsch and history that has helped to keep the Hollywood original busy for so many years. Ownership says there are plans to expand Yamashiro across the globe as well in the coming years.
- San Diego-based Mike Hess Brewing will open at West Harbor with its own 15-barrel brewhouse and 20,000 square foot outdoor beer garden. The brewery will also operate a restaurant at the same indoor-outdoor facility, all less than a mile from existing (and itself popular) San Pedro brewery Brouwerij West.
- Poppy + Rose, the well-regarded Downtown Los Angeles Southern restaurant, will open a second outlet that will keep daytime through dinner hours. The restaurant space comes complete with a 2,000 square foot patio.
- Jay Bird’s Chicken, a fast-casual Nashville-style hot chicken offshoot with locations across Southern California (including in Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Montebello, among others) will open at West Harbor with sandwiches, fries, and more.
- Internationally-known Sugar Factory, part sweets stop and part party-time brasserie, will also open at West Harbor; the chain shares an ownership group with Yamashiro. Expect lots of color, shiny lights, and plenty of sugar (plus savory fare and cocktails) from the restaurant, which also boasts locations in Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, and internationally.
Given that the property totals more than 40 acres of redeveloped waterfront, including walking paths, outdoor seating areas, and even boat access, it’s likely that there will be more names to announce at West Harbor as time goes on. The Yamashiro ownership group, for one, is working to open an unnamed New Mexican cantina concept that will occupy more than 5,000 square feet of patio space itself. There are also plans for Hopscotch, the experiential art facility, to open at West Harbor with a 17,000 square foot gallery that will also include an on-site lounge and outdoor seating. One name you won’t see at the development: Gladstone’s. The beachy group from further north along the coast pulled out of the development during the early stage of the pandemic.
It’s worth noting that the always-busy San Pedro Fish Market, famously one of America’s most lucrative independent restaurants with more than $30 million in annual sales, will relocate further down the shore from its current location eventually. That move shouldn’t impact West Harbor’s development or the operations of the San Pedro Fish Market itself, as the restaurant is expected to remain open while its future (and larger) location is built.