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Umamicatessen and Two Boots Pizza Bring Delicious to Broadway

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 01:08PM
Umami / Orpheum Irene Fertik

Councilman Jose Huizar and Umami CEO Adam Fleischman shake hands in front of Steve Needleman, owner of the building where the company will open its "flagship" restaurant.

Literally and figuratively, the Orpheum Theater is the center of all the new restaurant buzz on Broadway.

A Tuesday morning press conference inside the venue welcomed impending neighbors Two Boots Pizza and Umamicatessen to the block between 8th and 9th. Both will be offering an off-beat dining experience and could open as soon as the end of the year.

"We're here to talk about pizza and burgers--my two favorite subjects," said Councilmember José Huizar as he warmly welcomed the restaurants.

The ringing in of the two restaurants came just in time for three-year anniversary of the 10-year "Bringing Back Broadway" campaign.

"I see Downtown as a gem that needs a little polishing," said Umami CEO Adam Fleischman. "Here there is a Downtown feel that you don't get anywhere else in L.A."

Umamicatessen, a cafeteria-style "modern-industrial" space that will be opening up at 852 S. Broadway, will be composed of "four or five different restaurants that are all under our umbrella," Fleischman said. On top of Umami's signature burgers, available at their existing locations, Umamicatessen will feature a tapas menu, a deli, and a dessert menu.

Umamicatessen's menus will each be crafted by one of four celebrity chefs whose names have yet to be disclosed because they "are still finalizing their deals," said Fleischman.

"There will be a retail component as well," Fleischman added. "We really want to make this the flagship Umami Burger in L.A."

Joe Baxley, manager and part-owner of neighboring Broadway Bar, spoke on behalf of Two Boots Pizza. Baxley is partners with Two Boots' Founder and CEO Phil Hartman, who was not present at the conference.

"Phil seeks out areas that are ripe for revitalization," Baxley said. "It didn't take me much at all for me to convince him that this is the place to be," he added.

Two Boots Pizza has one other L.A. location in Echo Park, with a cajun-inspired menu that features toppings like crawfish, tasso (cajun ham), and BBQ shrimp atop their signature cornmeal crust. "But you are also welcome to get pepperoni, or the usual traditional types of pizza." Baxley said.

Via email, Hartman spoke to blogdowntown about his motivation to open up shop Downtown.

"I love [Downtown's] vintage theaters, signage, buildings -- especially the Orpheum; so when friend Joe Baxley called me about the space adjacent to his Broadway Bar, we jumped at the opportunity," he said.

Although the Two Boots menu will be similar to that of its Echo Park location, it will feature a "Downtown L.A.-only indigenous pizza which will celebrate some aspect of local history," Hartman said.

Although Two Boots' location at 828 S. Broadway is small, the eatery could feature limited seating. Broadway Bar will also welcome deliveries for hungry bar goers.

Hartman speaks fondly of his first L.A. restaurant. "We've had many an expat New Yorker enter with tears in their eyes, so thankful to have a taste of home."

Hopefully Two Boots will have a similar effect on Downtowners.

Construction work on both spaces should begin shortly.

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