Echo Park – The cafe at the Echo Park Lake Boathouse is slated to reopen in about a month under a new owner.
The boathouse coffee concession has been granted to Julio Douglas, a neighborhood resident who currently runs the nearby Street Level Cafe on Glendale Boulevard. In addition to offering a full menu by the end of the summer, Douglas plans to eventually host movie nights, musical performances, children’s readings and other events.
“We want to maximize that space,” said Douglas. “Make it a community center. “
The new name of the café by the lake? The Boathouse Bistro, says Douglas.
Douglas gets a one-year contract for the space, according to Rachel Ramos, the concession manager for the city’s parks and recreation department. He’s also been given 90 days before the contract starts, so he has time to prepare the coffee for the opening, Ramos told the Rec and Parks concessions working group.
But Douglas said he won’t need that long to get started. It plans to open in mid-August with drinks, ice cream and a small menu. He then plans to add other food items, until they have a full menu by the end of August.
“We have to get rid of our problems, you know? Douglas said.
The boathouse cafe has been vacant since December, when the former operator left amid restaurant restrictions during the pandemic. Douglas said he now spends the week cleaning, scrubbing and painting the space. They need equipment, they need tiling work. But overall, space isn’t that bad already, he said.
Douglas is no stranger to the park or to neighborhood dining. In addition to opening Street Level Cafe, he previously worked at the nearby Brite Spot Diner. He lives a block and a half from the park.
“I walk past the park every day,” he said.
The menu at the new Boathouse Bistro will not be the same as at the Street Level Cafe. But Douglas said he would always focus on “healthy” foods – that is, healthy foods, but also French fries. Scheduled opening hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.