Studio City Burger Wars: Sapphire Closes, The Counter Invades
Photo of a burger from The Counter by Malinger/LAist
There's two bits of good news and one part bad. First, the good: The Counter, of Santa Monica make-your-own-burger fame, is opening a location in Studio City at Laurel Canyon and Ventura Blvd. It was supposed to open this past Winter, but due to stringent health code standards and rumored pressure from future competitors making it harder for them to start business, the opening of the Valley location has been pushed back to this Autumn.
The other good news is that Will Shamlian, owner of Sapphire (he also is the man behind 4100 Bar in Silver Lake, The Chalet in Eagle Rock and the Library Bar downtown), is opening up a new bar of sorts. According to a source, the new establishment will serve burgers and several micro beers in a gastropub type bar/restaurant. But there's a problem. Shamlian is closing Sapphire on June 1st to make way for this new concept.
"I say if it's not broken, don't fix it. Sapphire is all about the atmosphere which the owners seem hell bent on destroying," vented Tristen Pelton on Yelp.com. "In conclusion, this place is going to suck more than anything that has ever sucked before." Pelton, along with many others, gave the bar high ratings (LAist agrees, this is one of the best bars in the Valley).
If Shamlian truly is turning Sapphire into a burger joint, he should expect some good competition from The Counter, which packs in the crowds with ease. Just look at this food porn essay from Malingering.