The creators of the Smashburger, Live Basil Pizza and Tom’s Urban 24 chains said Monday it plans to bring all three concepts together for the first time in downtown Los Angeles at L.A. Live, a massive sports and entertainment complex next to the Staples Center arena.
Scheduled to open in December, the three restaurants will take over a 24,000-square-foot space previously occupied by an ESPN Zone, which closed over the weekend. The closure leaves one remaining ESPN Zone restaurant and sports bar at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif. The sports concept operated by Walt Disney Co. once had locations in seven other cities but most were closed in 2009 and 2010.
Smashburger is not new to Los Angeles. The 210-unit fast-casual burger chain is owned by Denver-based private-equity firm Consumer Capital Partners, and the brand has been growing in the Los Angeles area, as well as nationally, over the past two years. For sister brands Tom’s Urban and Live Basil, however, the Los Angeles locations will be the first outside Denver.
Tom’s Urban 24, a full-service casual-dining concept with a strong bar scene, and Live Basil Pizza, a fast-casual pizza concept, were both co-founded in Denver by Smashburger founder Tom Ryan.
Tom’s Urban 24 and Live Basil — as well as future concepts to come from the group — are now operated by Consumer Concept Group, a new legal entity also based in Denver, of which Ryan is chief concept officer.
Tom’s Urban 24 opened in October 2012 on Larimer Square and is open 24 hours, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu of comfort foods with an urban culinary twist.
Ryan said it’s not clear yet whether the Los Angeles location will be open 24 hours, and it may be called simply “Tom’s Urban.”
“We’re taking a hard look at whether the trade area will support it,” he said.
The full-service concept will be the largest of the three planned for L.A. Live, operating in about 5,200-square feet with a 1,400-square-foot patio. A second floor, with another 3,800-square feet, will be designated for catering, private dining and special events, Ryan said.
The neighboring Smashburger and Live Basil units will each occupy about 1,000 square feet with 800-square-foot patios. The three restaurants will be operated separately but will share some common areas and back-of-the-house space, said Ryan.
For Live Basil, which debuted in Denver in May, the move into Los Angeles marks the beginning of plans to grow the concept nationally. Two locations are open in Denver and Ryan said three or four are expected to open there before the end of the year. “We’re getting it ready for expansion to new markets,” said Ryan.
Consumer Concept Group, however, does not plan to do more trio locations like what is planned in Los Angeles. The move reflects a unique opportunity, said Ryan.
L.A. Live is a $2.5 billion complex that includes the Nokia Theatre, a Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels, luxury condominiums, the GRAMMY Museum, a 14-screen movie theater, as well as a slew of restaurants and bars and broadcast facilities for ESPN. The complex was developed by Los Angeles-based AEG, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, which owns or is affiliated with prominent entertainment facilities around the world.
More hotels and apartment buildings are under construction nearby in downtown Los Angeles, and L.A. Live is also within blocks of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Rick Schaden, chairman of Consumer Concept Group who also founded and later sold the Quiznos sandwich chain, said in a statement the move into L.A. Live offers an opportunity to showcase the three concepts.
“This is an exciting move for us,” he said. “We have spent time developing really great restaurants that appeal to all types of consumers. We are now ready to put them on center stage in one of the biggest entertainment and lifestyle destinations in the nation, L.A. Live.”