As stay-at-home orders due to Covid-19 have been slowly lifted in Los Angeles, shops and restaurants in Pacific Palisades have started to reopen.
Palisades Barber Shop:
Joe Almaraz, owner of the venerable Palisades Barber Shop on Antioch, opened his doors last week and has been welcoming back many of his regular customers. Face coverings are mandatory for everybody in the shop, and Joe and his barbers are following the safety precautions mandated by the L.A. Department of Public Health.
The shop, established in 1940, is the town’s oldest surviving retail business. Almaraz, who started cutting hair there in 1962, has been the owner since 1983.
Shortly before business lockdowns began in mid-March, Almaraz received the 2020 Bob Sage Business Person of the Year Award from the Palisades Rotary Club, not only for his successful business, but also for his involvement in the community.
Almaraz and his wife Nina have three children: Jose Jr., Tom and Patricia, a realtor in Westchester. JR started working at the shop in 1984, followed by his wife, Lucy, in 1989, and Tom in 1991. There are six grandkids (Tommy, Cindy, Joseph, Travis, Pricilla and Katy) and one great-grandchild, Joshua.
Over the decades, the Almaraz clan has cut hair for scores of celebrities, some of them regular customers for years, others who were just passing through or in town visiting a friend.
During an interview with CTN, the barbers cited some of them: Walter Matthau, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Rodney Dangerfield (who instructed Joe, “Short—the hair and the conversation”), Charlie Sheen, Christian Bale, Tesla’s Elon Musk, astronaut Buzz Aldrin (yes, they gave him a buzz cut), actor Joseph Cotten, James Arness, Charles Bronson, Sal Mineo, James Whitmore, Ron “Tarzan” Ely, Michael Richards (“Seinfeld”), John Goodman, Eddie Albert, Ted Knight, Adam West, Peter Graves, Steve Guttenberg, Martin Short, Mark Harmon, Kurt Russell, Burgess Meredith, Ryan O’Neal, Peter Fonda (“My favorite,” says JR), John McEnroe, the NBA’s Vlade Divac, Vin Scully, author Shelby Foote, Olympian Bob Mathias and Broadway’s John Raitt (“Every once in a while he’d hum a little tune,” said Tom).
“I remember one day we had Bruce Willis in the front chair and Billy Bob Thornton in another,” JR said.
Later this year, Almaraz and his family members plan to hold a special 80th anniversary celebration for their shop.
The New Hardware Store Opens:
“LOVE the new Anawalt in town. Such a welcome piece of good news!!!!” one reader wrote Circling the News.
We spoke to Anawalt Lumber Pacific Palisades Hardware Store General Manager Rosie Maravilla on opening day, May 29. “We arrived at 6 a.m. to open the store at 7 a.m. and there were already people here,” she said.
The 7,900-sq.ft. store is well-stocked and well-organized. There has been a steady stream of customers this past week, as Palisades residents stop by to pick up cleaning materials, lightbulbs, tools and other hardware items that before last week required a drive to either Santa Monica or Malibu.
The store has a wide selection of garden supplies, including hoses, fertilizers and tools needed for the yard. CTN was having trouble deciding between two nozzles, but help was right there, and the knowledgeable clerk was able to describe the advantages and disadvantages of the items being considered.
Store hours are generally 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Phone: (310) 454-4116.
Casa Nostra Trattoria Reopens on Sunset:
Casa Nostra on Sunset was one of the first restaurants to reopen for in-house dining. Its large outdoor patio makes it possible to comply with regulations for safe distancing.
A sister restaurant of the Casa Nostra in the Highlands, the Sunset eatery opened in the Business Block building shortly before the stay-at-home regulations went into effect. Many residents have praised its take-out meals, and now they have an opportunity to actually go out to dine.
Several organizations in town, such as the Rotary Club, have held special dinners at the Highlands restaurant. Member Perry Akins wrote, “In my opinion, they serve the best spaghetti Bolognese in Southern California.”
Casa Nostra features a wide selection of pasta and risotto, as well as entrees such as lamb shank, prime rib, salmon, sand dabs and chicken parmigiana or chicken piccata. There are also several pizza choices: margherita, burrata and pesto, prosciutto parma, tartufo or just create your own. (Visit: casanostraristorantela.com or call 424-581-4000.)