Playa Vista People 1/16/2020



Sarah Hernandez from Sarah’s SoCal Garden at the Playa Vista Farmers Market



MedMen Enterprises Inc. has partnered with Los Angeles wellness studios Sweat Yoga, LIT Method, Cycle House, Box Union Robertson, and Oraya Movement as part of an enhancement of 2020 community programming. The goal of the partnership is to discover synergies between the benefits of wellness and cannabis.

MedMen collaborated with Papa and Barkley and Kikoko to provide each studio with samples of their leading cannabis products, as well as including incentives to visit MedMen. Sweat Yoga, a hot yoga studio with locations in Santa Monica, Playa Vista, Westlake Village and Little Tokyo, will partner with MedMen for their Sunday night Yin class at all four of their locations during January and February. Following class, attendees will have the opportunity to sample Positivi-Tea from Kikoko, as well as Releaf balm from Papa and Barkley. MedMen yoga mats will be provided for use during class.


According to Playa Vista People reader polls, here are the top five reasons to call Playa Vista home.

1. New Single-Family Luxury Homes
It’s not every day you find a new home on the Westside with more space, bluff views, luxury, and convenience in a prime location. At Playa Vista, you can discover rare single-family homes where sophistication meets contemporary style at The Collection by Brookfield Residential. Here, decks and side yards bring the kind of indoor-outdoor living you’ll love, and private elevators come together with inviting living spaces.

2. Lifestyle – It’s All Right Here
When you call Playa Vista home, you’re never more than a short walk from the community’s crave-worthy restaurants and trendy shops at Runway, 29 urban parks, and The Resort, the resident activity hub and ultimate spot for fitness and relaxation. Plus, there’s always a community event happening, and every Saturday marks the famed weekly Playa Vista Farmers’ Market.

3. Close to It All
Just 1.5 miles to the beach and about 10 minutes from Abbot Kinney and LAX, Playa Vista is right where you want to be and near everything else. Even closer, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Venice Beach are all the right places for surfing, shopping, tasting, art, music or just hanging out. To make things that much easier, Playa Vista offers Daily and Beach Shuttles so you can get around without getting in your car.

4. Tech Hub at The Campus
With technology, media, and creative powerhouses in The Campus at Playa Vista, innovation is everywhere, and you can be just a bike ride away from work. From Google, Yahoo and YouTube Space LA to IMAX and 72andSunny, you’re connected to exciting opportunities with some of today’s most notable visionaries. After all, it is called Silicon Beach.

5. Sustainability
Playa Vista has always made sustainability a top priority, and it has the initiative to prove it. Dubbed “LA’s Urban Model” by the Los Angeles Times, it’s a community that integrates innovative water conservation techniques, eco-friendly building materials and public art, smart design and walkability. What’s more, it’s set aside 70% of its original design as parks and preserved open space—because it’s all about the future.


Sneaker Con, which is co-produced by IMG, is centered in Anaheim, the spirit of the event is creeping to other parts of the city. A pair of dueling sneaker pop-up galleries have cropped up in and near Culver City. The larger of the two is Sneakertopia — a 15,000-square-foot art exhibition featuring sneaker-inspired installations at HHLA near Playa Vista. Entry is $38 for adults and $23 for kids as it runs through March.


Guitar player Kurt on Saturday night at Café Del Rey


L.A. Times veteran columnist Robin Abcarian rode bikes to Marina del Rey to gawk at sailboats festooned with Christmas lights recently.

Send your area celebrity sighting to:

Marina del Rey Marriott

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Host your next meeting or event in one of this hotel’s stunning venues, offering unmatched views of the ocean and 360 degree views from our rooftop event space.  If there’s downtime in the schedule, relax with a drink at Sinder Lounge while enjoying this comfortable, casual hangout. This coastal hot spot is abuzz with happy hour, live entertainment and other dining favorites.Discover your home away from home in LA and set sail with us at Marina del Rey Marriott!

Questions? Please contact:
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Marina del Rey, CA 90292


*PLAYA VISTA PEOPLE–Only Originals Allowed!:


Graham Arnold
Stark’s Restuarant, Partner

A native of southern California, Graham Arnold’s route to hospitality was neither typical nor direct. A love of music at a young age led him to study classical music at Brigham Young University and a love of languages and foreign cultures became post-graduate work in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic at University College London. It was only upon returning to his native southern California that a summer job at the Montage Resort Laguna Beach began his true passion – hospitality and service. Arnold worked for the Montage and then Starwood Hotels for many years before joining the Hillstone Restaurant Group. After managing five different locations for a company he still admires and emulates, Arnold left to pursue an individual path. He cut his teeth at smaller, privately owned restaurants before landing as the Director of Hospitality for the Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants. It was after all these diverse experiences that he decided to partner and create his own restaurant, Stark’s, in Marina Del Rey

Q: Graham, where were you born?—In southern Orange County in California.Q: How did you get into the restaurant business and how long have you been in this thing?—About 25 years?

Q: How the hell did you gravitate into the restaurant business?—Honestly, by accident. I worked in restaurants thought-out college to put myself through. I got a couple degrees in Music and Middle Eastern Studies. The, I did a master’s degree abroad and studied Arabic. I came back to southern California and took a summer job at a hotel and about 6 weeks into the job I realized I speak several languages and traveled the world because I love people and not translate for a living. So, I took on more responsibility at the hotel company I was working for and kept growing, and I never looked back.

Q: What was the first restaurant you worked at? Were you a server?— Oh yeah. I was a server for many years. I worked for Outback Steakhouse and Claim Jumper, which is an oldy but goody in southern California.

Q: Is being a server a harder job than most people think?— Absolutely. I don’t think anyone wants to be the person in-between a hungry person and their food, personally.

Q: When you’re a server, are most customers modestly pleasant or does it depend on their mood?— I would say the vast majority are pleasant.

Q: What is the secret to being a really good waiter as opposed to being an adequate waiter? What do you have to do right to be a really good waiter?— I think technical skills, being attentive, and leading the guests are key. But I think charm can makeup for any of that.

Q: From your perspective, how important is smiling in the dining experience.— It is very important. It sets a tone. It’s hard to get mad at someone who is smiling at you.

Q: So now, you were working a year or so ago at Rustic Canyon. That is a restaurant group in Santa Monica. One day you got a call from the owner of the what was at the time, Jerry’s Deli, and he invited you to have a conversation with him. You came down to the construction site since he was going to close the deli and you began, at that point, the construction and vision for Starks Restaurant. What is the vision for Stark’s Restaurant? What is your vision?—Well, from the building and the aesthetics we wanted to make a welcoming, residential looking , and comfortable but elegant looking space. The vision for the company: we wanted to create a restaurant where people could feel comfortable coming multiple times a week. The ingredients on the menu should be recognizable. There’s no avant guard and there is no preciousness to our plates. We wanted to create comfortable eating house that could be part of the neighborhood and part of the community. Just somewhere that people could go and not think twice about it. We wanted it to become everyone’s regular spot.

Q: By anyone’s standard, this is a beautiful restaurant. Was it very expensive to create?—Yes. It is definitely an expensive undertaking.
Beauty is expensive. We used a very talented architect and designer named John Sofio, who has done many amazing projects in Los Angeles. We were lucky enough for him to come help and design this for us. Everything is expensive.

Q: So you opened up the restaurant in what month?— At the end of May 2019.

Q: You were replacing a somewhat iconic and legendary deli, what was the initial reaction? First week and first 2 months.—I think the community was excited for something new. The community was ready for something new and the deli had been there for a long time and hadn’t been updated in a long time as well. So, I think the majority of the community was excited for us. Deli’s in general aren’t as popular anymore.

Q: So, the restaurant was pretty well welcomed by the community right away and anticipated. You’re open for brunch?— Brunch on the weekends, lunch Monday through Friday, and dinner every night. 7 nights a week.

Q: You’ve been here about 7 months now. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had about this restaurant?—I would say our biggest surprise is the diversity of Marina Del Rey. I don’t think I fully understood just what it meant to have people who have lived in the community for 60 years who are retired to have to tech business’ growing across the street. There is everything in-between from young families to young professionals. It has been quite interesting. Playa Vista is trapped by it’s own size and water so I think having the things that are close is a nice option.

Q: What changes do you have for Stark’s in the next year, if any?
Well, within the next 6 weeks we will have a functional outdoor space and we are hoping to add lighting and live music within 2 months.

Q: The live music will be outside?—Yes. It will be a heated and lit patio. Lastly, we will be doing some improvements to the deli, making the marketplace easier to grab and have premaking. We want to market our own sauces.

Q: Many of the restaurants have been receiving large amounts of business from delivery services. Example, Postmates. Have you had that experience?—Yes. We are on Postmates and our Matzo Ball Soup is very popular on the app. It was important to pay homage to where we came from. So, we have the Matzo Ball Soup and we have a smoked salmon flat bread, which is kind of our lox’n bagel moment. We also serve a lox bagel at brunch. We wanted to be aware and cognitive of the community that supported Jerry’s for so many years and the history of the building.

1. ***More than 150 wines will be showcased at Loyola Marymount University‘s 39th Annual Wine Classic on Sunday, January 26th! Tickets are $95 through January 18th and the event supports student scholarships.
Details: ***The next LAX Coastal Chamber mixer will be on  Jan. 23, 5:30 – 7:30 PM | Networking @ Night —– at Cafe del Rey in Marina Del Rey. All are welcome.

3. ***Car Robbed at Home Goods/Trader Joe’s Parking Lot —  I’m posting this because I am hoping this doesn’t happen to anyone else! Last week in the Home Goods/Trader Joe’s parking lot on Manchester and Sepulveda someone stole my work bag (laptop, cell phone, Kindle, wallet) from the passenger side of my car. I believe they stole it after I’d put groceries in my trunk and was returning my cart to the store (my car was unlocked for this 1-2 minute period). No damage to my car. Within minutes, charges had been made on all of my credit and debit cards at the Fox Hills Mall. Just a reminder to watch your surroundings, keep your doors locked and your valuables with you! I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else! I have reported this information to the police. —— Katelynn Heil

4. ***Christmas Trains —  For our neighbor who set up that amazing train display over the holidays on Stewart Ave – Thank You! You can’t imagine how wonderful and magical it is to pause by your house and watch the trains choo choo among the very enchanting landscapes that you designed. It made my holiday spirit rise this year. Hopefully, it will become an annual tradition.   —- Sharon Caddle

5. ***Join the Mystery Book Club at the PV Library for a fun-filled evening. January 28, 2020 – Police by Jo Nesbø.

6. *** Umberto’s Italian Restaurant in Mar Vista
“Not many Italian restaurants in our neighborhood until Umberto’s opened. I took my 94-year-old dad there for his birthday last night. Sadly, we were the only ones there. Gladly, I made the right choice. Everything was delish, and we found out later that all homemade; the bread, pastas, sauces, salad dressing, and Tiramisu. Plus, Umberto is mindful of too much salt and sugar. Bravo! Currently, they only have a beer and wine license, who cares. My friend, who can drink 3 cups of coffee at night, claimed the coffee was very smooth. I had the pasta bolognese and my friend had pasta with meatballs. There were five meatballs, wow. There is live music on the weekends. Our waiter, John, was fantastic and very attentive. You gotta go to Umberto’s. Please support this wonderful treasure.” —– Donna Benton

7. ***ICT headquarters is located in a new office building just south of Jefferson Blvd. in Playa Vista about ten minutes from LAX: USC Institute for Creative Technologies,12015 Waterfront Drive, Playa Vista, CA 90094-2536, (310) 574-5700 tel


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