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Tesla Breaks Ground on First Restaurant
Exclusive photos of futuristic diner meets Supercharger site
After months of rumors, location changes and back-and-forths with city permitting, Tesla recently received approval to begin construction of its first restaurant, to be located in Los Angeles. The company quickly sprung into action, and has not only demolished the site’s previous building, it’s already started construction on the ground-up project. OttOmate sent a photographer to capture exclusive photos of the work thus far.
Before we get to some more revealing photos, a bit of background on the site, and its location. As far back as 2018, Tesla’s Founder Elon Musk has been teasing plans to build a “retro-futuristic” diner, initially set to be a few miles west in Santa Monica. When that location opened sans restaurant, the plan shifted to build it in Hollywood, along Santa Monica Blvd, between Highland and La Brea.
The plan is for a two story restaurant structure, surrounded by 32 charging stalls, with two movie screens, and a rooftop bar. At ground level, carhop-style waitstaff may bring meals to folks who have ordered ahead from their cars.
The site formerly hosted a Shakey’s pizza, located there for over 50 years, stretching back to when the California-originated chain had a much larger nationwide footprint. So iconic was this pizzeria that a passerby stopped our photographer to ask “bro, was that the Shakey’s?” This isn’t the only building in the vicinity to be replaced, as the Hollywood Media District goes through a bit of a renaissance. Nearby you’ll find not only soundstages, but walkable side-street retail, international galleries, new apartments, hot restaurants, and in a sign of the neighborhood’s transition (or perhaps the ultimate in mixed use) — a still-operant cement mixing plant.
For Tesla, the location fills a big hole in its local Supercharger network. Looking at the company’s map, one can see that while the automaker has many chargers on the affluent Westside, and a few downtown, the core of the city (roughly in the middle of the below image) is underserved. While the densely located site is about 3/4 of a mile south of the D line subway and two miles north of the under-construction B line extension, there are still many EV owners in the area, especially in the wealthy hills to the north.
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One can see the company has begun excavation and started pouring the foundation. Speaking with an expert familiar with construction in the region, he said “the pads will be the foundation for future columns. And there will probably be spread footings for walls and such later, and then once footings are constructed they will place their vapor barrier, sand and gravel, etc. And then, place the concrete slab.”
While Tesla’s founder has been known to play fast and loose with plenty of rules, evidently the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Building and Safety is foe too formidable even for Elon.