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Updated: Proposed Indian Restaurant at Washington and Altadena to Get May 1 Hearing

The developer has applied with the county for a permit to serve alcohol, and has been asked to discuss the issue at the May 1 Altadena Town Council Land Use Committee meeting. It may also go before the Town Council on May 15.

 A proposed 5,000 square-foot retail building at the northeast corner of Washington Boulevard and Altadena Drive that will include an Indian restaurant and several retail shops will get a May 1 hearing at the Altadena Town Council Land Use Committee, according to county planners.

The hearing will be to discuss a permit for the consumption of alcoholic beverages at the restaurant.

The permit was discussed at a hearing of the County Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday, but the Commission opted to delay voting on the permit to allow the Land Use Committee to weigh in on it, according to Anthony Curzi of the County Regional Planning Department.

The county's commission will then hear the issue and vote on it at its May 2 meeting.

The timing is crucial for the project to succeed, according to Burke Farrar of Odyssey Development Services, who represents the applicant. Building permits for the project are supposed to be pulled by May 7, and getting the permit to serve alcohol is a key part of the project, he said.  The expected revenue from those sales is one of the assets that his client's financing is dependent on, he added.

Farrar requested at the hearing Wednesday that the commission simply vote on the permit and not go through the Town Council.  He said that in all the emails between the county and himself or his client from November to February, nobody mentioned the need to go before the Town Council. 

However, Farrar told Patch he believes the commission made a "fair decision" and said that the project will be fine as long as he can get the permit approved at the May 2 hearing.

The owner of the property is Dr. Nirmal Kumar, who runs a medical practice at that location.  The new retail building would replace a small outlying building on the spot that used to house a florist.  

Kumar will continue to practice medicine and will act as owner of the Indian restaurant, Farrar said.  He noted that he has also represented two other local Indian establishments, , in South Pasadena, and Mezbaan Indian Cuisine, in Pasadena.  He said it is likely that Kumar would make decisions about the restaurant based on discussions with those owners.

The restaurant would take up at 1,600 square feet of the development, leaving the rest of the building for other retail use, he said.

The May 1 Land Use Committee hearing is at 7 p.m. at the and is open to the public.

Updated 10:15 a.m: The alcohol permit for the proposed Indian restaurant may also get a hearing at the Altadena Town Council meeting on May 15, according to Curzi

Staff will likely recommend a continuance at its May 2 meeting to allow the Town Council to discuss the permit.

Though the applicant's representative told the county there is a May 7 deadline to pull permits for construction on the 5,000 square foot retail building, county staff has found the applicant is eligible for a six-month extension on those permits, according to Curzi.

If the County Regional Planning Commission agrees to delay the May 2 hearing, it would then be able to next hear the issue on May 16 after the Town Council has a chance to discuss it.

Editor's note: The headline to this story originally said the restaurant would be located at Washington and Allen.

Leslie Aitken April 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
The article says Washington and Altadena Dr. and the photo of the former flower shop is on the NE corner of Washington and Altadena -- across from McDonalds. So I guess that the headline saying Allen is a faux pas. : ]
karen on eaton canyon April 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I would love for that sad, abandoned building to be converted to a positive force in our community. And, an Indian restaurant! Yes!
Leslie Aitken April 19, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Also -- an Indian Restaurant......how wonderful.....now if we could just get Pho ---nectar of the Gods up here too!
pusddad April 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
NE Washington and Allen is a bank. Is that coming down?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Yes it is Leslie, thanks for pointing that out - I will change it.
Damien April 19, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Wash down some Aloo Gobi with some "Himalaya Blue"... Mmm! I can't wait!
Kim Williams April 19, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Yes, yes, yes! I love a good curry and a Kingfisher beer. That corner has been an eye-sore for the 10 years I've lived Altadena.
Mara Schaeffer April 19, 2012 at 04:41 PM
If someone is going to open another Indian restaurant, I hope they have the imagination to offer something different from the other 8-10 Indian restaurants in the area. As a vegetarian, Indian cuisine is my favorite, but all the local restaurants offer the same Northern India cuisine- the same dal, the same spinach and cheese, the same garbanzos, the same eggplant, all swimming in fattening clarified butter. All of these dishes are available and inexpensive at Trader Joes. If I want the delicious South Indian cuisine I enjoyed traveling in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, I either have to make it myself or drive a long way: sambar, idlis, vadas and uttapams, 8 types of dosas. rasam, curried vegetables, and spiced coffee. These can be made low fat for those of us on diets, and with healthy whole grains like brown basmati rice or delicious Indian red rice. That would be food worth a drive across town.
michele Zack April 19, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Oh, to get a good palak paneer in town! I hope Dr. Kumar is able to get approval, and that he is a good cook.
Ericka April 19, 2012 at 05:45 PM
mmm, indian food in altadena! yes!
Ellen Stein April 19, 2012 at 05:57 PM
You can never have too many Indian restaurants! This would be the first up in our direction. Sounds great to me.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 06:21 PM
@pusdad - The location is the northeast corner of Washington and Altadena - the headline had it incorrectly listed as Washington and Allen initially. The current building there is abandoned and most of the lot is taken up by parking currently.
welby April 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I would love to see them renovate the classic Mid Century Modern building instead of replacing it.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 08:05 PM
@welby - It's not a bad little building, but I don't know what the design plans are for the new building. Unfortunately, the site plan is in downtown L.A. and there is no digital copy, so I don't have it.
pusddad April 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM
dialysis followed by indian food, or the other way around?
Patrick Lee April 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
This used to be Steve's florist right? I went there all the time back in day.
welby April 19, 2012 at 09:25 PM
@Patrick Lee - Yes it is. I always thought that would make an awesome vintage store.
Eric Pierce April 19, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Here are the plans http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/case/r2007-00170_site-plans.pdf Huge file:do not attempt without hi-speed internet!
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Well done Eric! The planner I talked to said they were not online, but this appears to be them. It is possible they have been updated since this plan, but it looks like a good starting point. Since the file is indeed too huge for me to upload right now, I took a couple of screenshots that show the building layout and artist's depiction. I've also emailed the county to see if these are the current plans. One last thing to note though: my understanding is that the county and the Town Council hearings will be focused on whether or not to grant a permit to serve alcohol rather than the actual design of the building.
Kimbery Galligan April 19, 2012 at 10:11 PM
the plans look nice. It's great to see people developing the run down properties in Altadena. Restaurants are sorely needed in Altadena besides fast food or mexican food. Hopefully more people realize we would like to eat a meal in Altadena and we get a range of all nationalities! I vote for Sushi place up here. Wouldn't that be great?!
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Sushi would make sense - there is a real shortage of both sushi and Chinese food north of the 210 Freeway. I'm also a big Indian food fan, and in particular, I like Radhika's which the consultant for this place mentioned as a possible influence for this restaurant.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 10:29 PM
By the way, received email from the county planner and the designs depicted here are still current. So this is what it is supposed to look like.
Judith Herman April 19, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Yes, yes. The community can only benefit from an upscale Indian restaurant that will provide fine dining to its residents. How wonderful -- and profitable -- that Altadena is begining to reflect its international influences. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our east Altadena were to become a new "Sierra Madre"-type of neighborhood. Plus, we will now be having a new upscale restaurant on Allen and New York! And Carmelo's ice-cream! ! ! I wonder what other new companies will be joining Altadena.
SteveB April 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Radhika's on Shoppers Lane closed some time ago - a restaurant by name of Radhika opened in South Pas - I believe it is the same ownership Haven't been out for Indian Food since Radhika's closed in Pas - would love to have an Altadena option.
SteveB April 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Care to share your 8-10 area restaurants and rank them?
Steve Lamb April 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I despise Indian food, So I'll never go, but I support a restaurant even an Indian one coming to Altadena, but as Leslie said PHO!!!!!!!
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM
SteveB - Yes same owners. The owner is great - comes and chats with customers and it may be the only place I know where the guy remembers me when I come in. The original Radhika's was pretty standard Indian fare that just tasted really great. The new one is very different: it has interesting fusion menu items like tandoori tacos and samosas with goat cheese. I loved the old and I love the new one. It is definitely a trek down there though so if this new one gets built and is anywhere near as good I'll be there a lot.
Mara Schaeffer April 20, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Reply to SteveB "Care to share your 8-10 area restaurants and rank them?" The quality of the local Indian restaurants varied widely each time I went. Twice the Latino cooks would just dump cayenne in the food and call it curry. It was more practical to go to Indian Sweets and Spices in Glendale, get several quart containers of take out for the same price as a dinner for two at a restaurant, and there would be enough food for 2-5 days. They usually have one or two entrees that are wonderful, several that are good, and one or two that are mediocre at best. The best Indian food is served in Little India, at someone’s home, or you make it yourself- with a little help from YouTube.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Mara, please try to meet with the owner. I'm mostly familiar with Northern Indian like most Americans but I do know uttapam and dosa, and they get a big thumbs up from me. I would also like to hear the 8-10 ranked.
Angela Odom April 20, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Oh I'm looking forward to a new Indian restaurant nearby. Love Indian food though I too prefer North Indian. Since I'm always in the area of one restaurant, I often go to New Delhi Palace on Colorado. However, if I'm looking to purchase spices or ingredients in bulk without breaking the bank and while there get a bite to eat, I'll head over to Bhanu Indian Grocery & Cuisine on Rosemead in San Gabriel or Indian Sweets & Spices on Huntington in Duarte. Groceries & spices only: Apna India Bazaar on Huntington.

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