There’s a new destination for din

ner, drinks and a show. Call it Ho-Un, in the tradition of No-Ho for North Hollywood. Or perhaps it one day will be called “The H-U,” like “The U-V” refers to University Village. For now, it’s simply the triangle park where Union Avenue ends at Hoover Street just north of the USC University Park campus.

A number of new venues have settled in, providing a complement to several restaurants and shops already there.

Bacaro L.A. Wine Bar: Two 2005 USC graduates - Danny Kronfli and Santo Uy - opened this small wine and tapas establishment just over a year ago. They planned to open a bar, but it morphed into a low-priced, upscale eatery, per customer demand. Wines and cheeses from around the world are listed on a huge chalkboard that fills one wall. Small plates of interesting hot and cold foods are served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“We just thought the community needed a nicer alternative,” said Kronfli, who majored in business management. “And it’s busy almost every night.”

Their business plan is simple: “If people leave happy, more will come back,” Kronfli said. The plan has worked, as the duo is planning to open a new French wine bar downtown called Mignon.

2308 South Union Ave.
(213) 748-7205



Ragazzi Room: This “Friends”-style coffee shop is a large space filled with art and comfortable couches and chairs. Espresso, bagels, salads and sandwiches are on the menu (the chicken pesto panini is a popular dish), and free wireless Internet is another attraction. Make use of the chessboard or sit down with a copy of LA Weekly or the Downtown News. Open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


2316 S. Union Ave.
(213) 741-1723


23rd Street Café: Two blocks east of Union at Portland Street, this neighborhood breakfast, lunch and dinner stop has a small hidden patio with tables and chairs and free wi-fi. New owner Gopal Sood has added Indian food to the café’s menu of hot and cold sandwiches, Mexican food and all-day breakfast items. Regulars crave the breakfast burritos - either veggie-style or with sausage, bacon, ham or chorizo. Open daily 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

936 W. 23rd St.
(213) 749-1593



24th Street Theatre: For more than 10 years, this 99-seat venue has built a reputation for staging stellar performances that attract major talent (such as Jack Black, Shelley Berman and Sandra Tsing Loh), but also for being a leader in arts education for South Los Angeles students, often in partnership with USC. The venue provides first-rate after school and weekend theatre programs, and it has a range of main stage performances, all described on its Web site.


1117 W. 24th St.
(213) 745-6516
Velaslavasay Panorama Theatre: Don’t let the name scare you away. Since 2005, the historic Union Square Theatre, which dates from at least the early 1930s, has devoted its space to the great panorama paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. The immersive 360-degree murals, often including a faux terrain in the foreground, tell stories steeped in history. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

1122 West 24th St.
(213) 746-2166

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