Louie’s of Mar Vista – Venice Blvd. Road Diet Casualty
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Louie’s of Mar Vista – Venice Blvd. Road Diet Casualty

December 26, 2019


>>My name is John Atkinson, I was the owner of Louie’s of Mar Vista in Mar Vista. We’ve recently had to close down, largely
due to the road diets on Venice. It really jacked up this neighborhood in a
terrible way. The road diet affected our business
negatively almost like from the start. For over four years we were doing well,
getting better and better every month we were like doing about a $120,000, was a was a pretty small month. Road diet hits and we just dropped to $80,000. Our sales were cut down by a third, very quickly. And we were never able to recover. We were devastated by this road diet. We went out of business about what four or five months later. It killed my business. We were never given any notice from the city or Mike Bonin’s office. I had no idea it was
gonna put us out of business, but nobody gave us any warning nobody asked for our input, and you know investing a million dollars of saved money into this
business and taking a loan out on my mother’s home to open this business. I expected something from my from my representation, like “Hey, this is gonna
happen what do you think?” But all we got was nothing. Nobody wants to come back here after work, because now it takes you twenty five minutes to get through this
little stretch of Mar Vista, when you you’ve been cruising it for ten years, just part of your commute now it’s part of rage. Customers were coming in and
they were kind of blaming us for the road diet. Somebody got a ticket for like making a right-hand turn that was all of a sudden illegal. I suppose is natural for someone who was frustrated to blame a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Like, “Why is your neighborhood doing these stupid things?” And they were very frustrated and then all of a sudden you start to see people not coming here because they were frustrated by the by traveling around here. It was hard on a
bike, it’s strange on foot, it’s impossible in a car and they had just
had it. Mar Vista forget. If I could say anything to Councilman Mike Bonin, I’d just asked him “why didn’t he consult us?”. He always seemed like he cared about
us, but no one consulted us and whoever’s decision it was to do this road diet
they destroyed my business. They put me out of business, I laid off 25 people. So you know I’m emotionally devastated, I’m financially ruined and we trust
these people to look after our interests. We invest millions of hard saved dollars
in this community. We employ people in this community and without any concern
for us they randomly decide to destroy this section of town. And I can
point right at my council members and my political leaders in this town
and say “why?”. I’d gave everything to invest in growing Mar Vista everything of my life 15 years of savings and my mother’s retirement for
30 years as a pediatrics nurse and it is down the shitter, and I got nothing. If
anybody is going to make dramatic changes to transportation in a
metropolitan city you know, 2017 like it or not we live by our transportation
modes be them bicycle or automobile or train. But most people are in cars, you
cannot force overnight your idea of what a city should look like without
dramatically impacting the people who pay the small employees, the $15 an hour
employees that you try that you claim to love and respect are ruined because 25
of them got laid off on Sunday here.

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  1. I ride my bicycle on Venice Blvd almost every day to the beach, the changes they made to the section of roadway made it more hazardous for me to ride past. I now have to be that much more alert to traffic, from cars making right hand turns, having a more difficult time seeing riders with parked vehicles blocking their view, to impatient drivers that travel in the bike lane passing vehicles, with confused drivers parking in the bike lane not understanding the changes and the pedestrians that never look while crossing to get to and from their cars. I understand the business owners frustrations and think it was a terrible move, there was nothing wrong with the original bike lanes.

  2. I don't feel bad for you shutting down because of vermin infestation and a 2 star Yelp reviews. I used to frequent Louie's in Mar Vista. Listen to your customers that were not happy with your changes that YOU made with your new chef and new menu.

    The Road Diet had nothing to do with your declining sales. I would bet "Vermin Infestation" and your change of menu was the cuplrit.

    https://patch.com/california/venice/rats-did-you-venice-mar-vista-eateries-flunk-health-inspections

    Take responsibility for your actions.

    6 Health Code violations on October 26, 2017 including "Multiple Major Critical Violations / Increased Risk to Public Health". 4 Health Code violations June 1, 2017. 7 Violations May 17th.

  3. Multiple Heath Code Violations LOUIE'S OF MAR VISTA – Vermin Infestation https://patch.com/california/venice/rats-did-you-venice-mar-vista-eateries-flunk-health-inspections
    Health Violations https://imgur.com/85eHX6g

    October 26, 2017 – 6 violations (B) including "Multiple Major Critical Violations / Increased Risk to Public Health"
    June 1, 2017 – 4 violations (A)
    May 17, 2017 – 7 violations (B)

    Louie's has multiple unhappy customers recently getting a 2 star Yelp review.

    John Atkinson needs to take responsibility for his business failing from his changes, low customer satisfaction and "vermin infestation".
    He is being dishonest.

  4. A new chef, Chris Feldmeier, took over Louie's of Mar Vista — about 5 months ago and completely changed the menus with expensive toasts. Any quick review of yelp shows the 2.5 star rating with dozens of regulars complaining about the change asking 'what happened?' I really don't see how you can pin this on Road Diet – it seems like they shifted gears and the community wasn't behind it. Nonetheless, sad to see a local business close no matter what the reason.

  5. Congrats! You made reddit! https://www.reddit.com/r/LosAngeles/comments/7d5f5k/louies_of_mar_vista_shuts_down_blames_road_diet/

  6. Did the road diet cause the vermin? The 2.5 star yelp reviews? Health code violations? The unsatisfactory new menu? I feel for you but you can't blame this on the goddamn road.

  7. #RecallBonin – WE won in PDR – and more lawsuits coming from businesses loosing 30%+ for 6 months….. ¬†Great Video – but I'd think you should HIT Bonin like he HIT you – in the wallet – he makes more than $190k with benefits – rides his bike past your place – GET RESTORE VENICE – to #RecallBonin in the description…. sad songs & videos won't do much – recalling and lawsuits will.

  8. Funny how you don't mention the COMPLETE change in menu…basically turned it into a different restaurant. I sat at the bar one night and watched at least three groups come in, look at the new menu and then walk out. On the same night, Accomplice and Little Fatty (next door) were packed. Funny how the road diet didn't affect them. Although I oppose the road diet, you destroyed your own business. Sorry to have seen the original Louie's disappear…not at all surprised to see this version close down.

  9. If Louie's was the only business on "The Great Street" to have problems since the road diet then it would be fair to say you can't make the cause and effect conclusion. But many businesses are saying sales are down, and we saw the exact same thing in PdR.

    https://youtu.be/numDOYuL0Dg

    On some streets a road diet can be good for business, but here on Venice it has definitely hurt business.

  10. This is so sad. It was an awesome place. Even more sad how many jerks who have "political" agendas are trying to smear this place. Anyone who was a customer knows this is a tragedy and is totally because this street is such a pain to use now.

  11. I'm sure they will put a highrise there. Seems the idea is to make the neighborhood unliveable but worth a fortune to developers.

  12. If anyone is interested in hearing some more bullshit heres another link of John victimizing himself some more & failing to tell the truth of what truly happened  : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6waKgp2h1W4

  13. This is not  meant to disregard the subject of the road change on Venice РIt is absolutely something worth speaking up about & considering for the better of the Mar Vista community & businesses.
    What does not make sense, is how they can use this man as a spokesman for the subject. I am sure that businesses have suffered over this, but the situation that unfolded at Louies is much more in depth than just "the road diet." Anyone could agree that being any sort of business owner must be difficult Рfrom marketing, employees, investors, aesthetics, money, etc. There is a lot that goes into running a business. But just as much goes into being a decent human being. This is someone who has clearly displayed themselves to be irresponsible in every sense of the word.
    It is utterly disturbing to watch this video of John reciting lines & looking for sympathy where ever he can to make excuses for his lack of professionalism. He was a business man who didn't want to do business. Not to lessen the time, money invested, or hopes Рbut there would be a higher sense of respect for him / the loss of the  business if he had directly addressed ALL the situations that was happening at Louies. From the infestation problem that he refused to ever professionally address, to the sudden lack of presence in his own business, to giving no explanation for the change of management, and to top it off Рto not give ANY of the employees, who stuck around through all the changes & confusion, AT LEAST a 24 hour notice that they will now be UNEMPLOYED. What "professional" (not to mention decent) person treats a business that is so meaningful to them this way, what "professional" person dismisses the wellbeing of the employees they called family. Regardless of what background personal issues may be occurring Рyou owe a true apology / honest explanation to the loyal clients who would go daily but the dedicated employees who stood there till the last day, literally.
    Next time there is a question as to why the last day of Louies was so destructive, take a moment to self reflect as to what you could have done different / better as their "boss".

  14. I've been to Louis' many times over the past years and enjoyed my visits. And so I am sad it is closing. But the coincidence of the lane reduction does not establish its causality. Businesses close and open due to a variety of factors, such as changing local tastes, competitive entry, and management decisions. To pin blame on the lane reduction seems to be a convenient explanation for those already opposed to pilot Great Streets project.

  15. Having talked to the staff about the safety violation, it was the patio, open to the alley that was the problem. It was not the kitchen. And as far as the 'Bonin Narrows' on Venice Blvd. is concerned, businessmen in Playa del Rey yelled loudly and all the 'road diet' work there has been undone. It was a bad idea that by now I am sure Bonin wishes he never did. As for the menu change the last two months, the new chef had a serious rep, but the clientèle of Louie's was not the same as millenials downtown. Too bad, I liked the place. A comfortable top-shelf bar and grill that isn't a dive or dark old men's bar is not easy to find weekends for lunch and conversation. I've looked.

  16. The Venice Blvd road work is ridiculous. I've lived here 37 years, and this stupid project has messed up traffic/parking/business more than any foolish project before it. I cannot help but sympathize.

  17. I live in Playa del Rey and came to Louie’s several times with friends. The food and service was always great! But after the changes to Culver Blvd and Venice Blvd I discontinued heading North of PdR due to the traffic. I found places East and South that were easier to get to. Now I wish I had tried to make more of an effort to get to Louie’s. I was so sad when I heard they were closing

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