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Restaurants Proliferate Across Valley Region

The local restaurant industry is looking at some healthy expansion this fall, with new eateries cropping up around the Valley just in time for early holiday shoppers. In Glendale, Mainland Poke on Sept. 2 became the first of five restaurants to open at Caruso Affiliated’s new dining destination, 252 S. Brand. Mainland Poke serves up fresh, unmarinated cuts of sushi-grade fish over bases like kelp noodles and kale. The restaurant will be joined by an Eggslut, a Philz Coffee, a Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop and a Shake Shack at the corner of Brand Boulevard and Colorado Street later this fall. Music, beer and “elevated pub fare” are the cornerstones of Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen, which celebrated its grand opening Sept. 9 at The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard. Chefs Patrick Marinazzo and Chris McKinley put their spin on classic bar snacks with beer-braised chicken drums and pork belly tacos, plus plenty of local craft beer to wash it down. The eatery features live performances by musicians from California and beyond, with a special emphasis on rock ‘n’ roll bands. Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill will debut its seventh Valley outpost this month at the former site of Twain’s Diner in Studio City. At its grand opening, the fast-casual chain will also roll out a Mexican-inspired breakfast menu, with options such as breakfast enchiladas, a “NuMex” scramble and chilaquiles. For now, the morning menu will be offered at the Studio City location exclusively, though Sharky’s plans to introduce the concept at more restaurants next year. NoHo Cuisine A historic Valley hotel is updating its culinary chain-of-command. The Garland Hotel at 4222 Vineland Ave. in North Hollywood has named Larry Greenwood executive chef and Jacob Smith chef de cuisine. In his new role, Greenwood will be responsible for overseeing all of the Garland’s dining services. He will work closely with Smith in managing the menu of the hotel’s signature restaurant, Front Yard. “Chef Larry’s innovative nature, leadership and deep-rooted experience in the Los Angeles market are the perfect complement to Chef Jacob’s fresh perspective, impressive skills and natural talent,” said Scott Mills, general manager of the hotel. “Together, they are a powerhouse team that embodies the spirit of the Garland, combining thoughtfully crafted food and drink with warm, engaging service.” Both chefs’ resumes boast stints at acclaimed restaurant groups and dining establishments in greater Los Angeles. Greenwood was most recently the executive chef at LGO Hospitality, which includes Pasadena’s La Grande Orange Cafe and Luggage Room Pizzeria. Smith joined the Yard after serving as corporate executive chef at Public Restaurants Group, and was formerly the executive sous chef at STK Los Angeles and Sunset Marquis. Big Sandal Flip Flop Shops has announced a three-pronged marketing plan to quicken its growth that includes the launch of an ecommerce website, a new apparel line and a new “super kiosk” store format. The chain of beachwear stores was acquired last year for an undisclosed amount by Cherokee Inc. in Sherman Oaks. Flip Flop Shops currently operates about 100 franchise stores in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the Middle East and South Africa. The chain has more than 100 additional shops in development worldwide. Since the acquisition, Cherokee has focused on growing the brand through new store openings and promotions. For example, earlier this year, Flip Flop Shops and one of its suppliers announced a contest with the winners traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Flip Flop website will launch in mid-October and will communicate a healthy and stress-free lifestyle “with your toes exposed,” the brand’s tagline. The super kiosks will measure about 300 square feet in the shape of a giant sandal. They are designed as an addition to the chain’s traditional four-walled stores. Finally, in the spring 2017, the chain will introduce the Everyday California line of footwear for men and women. The collection will be designed by Cobian, a top supplier to Flip Flop Shops. Cherokee acquired the Everyday California brand last year. “Given our aggressive growth plans, we’re particularly excited about identifying and cultivating relationships with seasoned operators who can become multi-unit franchisees, especially those who can quickly open and operate shops in desirable markets,” Brian Curin, president of Flip Flop Shops, said in a statement. “Channel and format innovation remain key differentiators and growth drivers for us and will help us achieve our goal of doubling our store growth in 2017.” Staff Reporter Helen Floersh can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or hfloersh@sfvbj.com.

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