The Downtown Report: Early September Edition

Success Story

Making a stop at my old digs at Villa del Sol reminded me that The Brownstone Café is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year and we all know what a huge accomplishment that is for any business, but especially a restaurant. They have been open longer than the venerable Pumpernickel and other restaurants in that location. When the Pumpernickel was open, a number of other businesses were in the courtyard. How many of you recall these places from the past?

Mimi’s Boutique was there for some time, specializing in petite women’s fashions. One visit inside and you knew who was boss, as her husband Ralph certainly knew. Good guy, did his job, watched the poodle, and got out of the way, ha. Later, she partnered with her son and opened Mork and Mimi’s. Mimi eventually moved to Palm Springs for her retirement years. There was Myra Magis Cotton Alert, with unique women’s fashions, and the Silver Thistle, where The British Grocer now holds court. Tony Ugolini, who spoke a number of languages, a well-known and beloved character, opened The British Grocer upstairs on the second floor in 1988 after he and his wife Geni sold the Pumpernickel. Susan Bigalow had a fine art studio and Elaine’s Exclusive Lingerie was there “For all occasions.” Lavender’s Flowers and Heroes moved in soon afterwards. The current tenants who have been there the longest are The Cellar Restaurant (1969) and Past Times Collectibles (1992). Who did we miss? Let us know.

New in Town

Provecho Market, a Mexican Mercado, is coming soon to the former CVS Pharmacy location on Euclid. Many have asked over the past year or so what was going to happen on that large, shuttered space and now we know. Word is they may open as early as September.

We mentioned here a few businesses that long time residents will recall. In coming issues, we will revisit some of the other places that were popular at the time, like Helen’s, Steel’s Cafe, Mickey’s, Boege’s Sporting Goods, The William’s Company and others. Feel free to suggest places you remember going to, or hearing about. Contact info is

Tommy Tribute

An early note to reserve the dateThursday, September 22, Tommy Lasorda Day. The Fullerton Market will be the site of a commemorative celebration to recognize the long time Fullerton resident and former Dodger Manager who passed away last year. Come and see the new Baseball Exhibit at the Fullerton Museum and take in the baseball author’s roundtable, radio talk show live recordings, and be sure to wear your Dodger Blue! Of course there will be food vendors and more.

Still Here

We have mentioned Walk on Wilshire numerous times and it’s time for yet another update. Our City Council voted to keep it going through the middle of 2024 and will include some changes. Other cities have created what they call ‘parklets’ in similar areas and that is the plan. Changes will begin taking place next year.

Live Music Update

Thanks to a reader for the tip- there is live jazz on Friday nights at the Pilgrim’s Coffee House at 124 West Wilshire from time to time. Go to: for upcoming shows.

Photo Quiz

Not far from where those long lost businesses were, where is it? Send answer to Mike at