Photography by Danny Fulgencio.

Lakewood Shopping Center is one of the hubs of our neighborhood. When forces threatened to alter it, neighbors banded together to preserve the fountain, the clock and the theater. Over the years, many restaurants have called the area, with its iconic architecture and central location, home. Take a look at how today’s restaurants came to be.

COCK & BULL NEIGHBORHOOD PUB is one of the oldest spots in the center. It opened in 1997 in place of UPTOWN CAKERY & CAFE, which was only there for a year. In 1994, TAOS SOUTHWEST CAFE CO. opened as the first restaurant to occupy the space. Before then, 6330 Gaston Ave. was an office.

SNOWBABY was the first dining space to open at 6404 Gaston Ave. It came to Lakewood in 2017, taking the place of SPORT CLIPS, which started in 2007.

YOGURTLAND opened in 2019, replacing YUMILICIOUS FROZEN YOGURT. Before Yumilicious arrived in 2011, JOHN PAYNE PHOTOGRAPHY INC. was the tenant. It was the second photography studio to open in the space, with the first opening in 2001. A store called ARMHOLE took the space in 2003.

MI COCINA set up a location in our neighborhood in 2012. It replaced Tex-Mex place MATT’S RANCHO MARTINEZ, which opened in 1997.

UNLEAVENED FRESH KITCHEN opened for business in 2015 in the spot of another restaurant, SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, which occupied the building on Abrams beginning in 2001.

Before LAKEWOOD SMOKEHOUSE was established in 2015, there was ALI BABA MEDITERRANEAN. That restaurant had been in business since 2008. (Lakewood Smokehouse closed July 22. Details here.)

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LAKEWOOD DONUT came to the shopping center in 2018, replacing DONUT PARADISE, which had been there since 2001. A catering company called DONUT.COM was there in 2000, and before then, the space was occupied by film studios. FILM LESS PHOTO was there in 1995, and FOX PHOTO leased the building in 1982.

LIBERTY BURGER has been in Lakewood since 2013, and it was the first restaurant to be housed in its space. A store called CATALINA 5 G took the space in 2011, and GREEN LIVING moved there in 2003. An arcade called NICKEL RANCH was there in 1997.

ROOTS MARKET AND JUICERY opened for business in 2016. It took the place of a catering company called SUPER SUPPERS, which started in 2005. FITNESS LIFESTYLE opened in 2002.

SASA SUSHI has been around since 2016. The sushi bar rolled up to Gaston Avenue after JERRY’S WOOD FIRED DOGS left. Another restaurant called LAKEWOOD BAR & GRILL occupied the space starting in 1994.

WAYA JAPANESE IZAKAYA came to Lakewood in 2017. It replaced THE CREEK CAFE, which came after THE PHILLY CONNECTION. EXCLUSIVE CLEANERS took the space in 2003, and ALLSTATE had the location in 2000. WATER TIGER MASSAGE THERAPIES moved into Lakewood in 1995.

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

6400 Gaston Ave. was home to DIXIE HOUSE, THE BLACK EYED PEA, SUGARBACON PROPER KITCHEN and KOZY KITCHEN.

COMING SOON:

FAJITA PETE’S is set to open soon at 1920 Abrams Parkway.


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