More restaurant closures plus a couple of newbies *

mr-cecils-closed.jpgI noticed paper in the window at Mr. Cecil's California Ribs on Pico in West Los Angeles — never a good sign — and stopped to have a look. Sure enough, a note on the door confirmed the barbecue joint opened in 2000 by Hollywood producer and chef Jonathan Burrows closed Dec. 19. An ABC notice in the window says a new Shunji is coming to the spot. This Mr. Cecil's location is located beside the 10 freeway in one of those round former Chili Bowl burger diners from the 1930s. Two other Mr. Cecil's, in Sherman Oaks and Manhattan Beach, remain. [* Update: The New Year's Eve report from Howard Fine is the Sherman Oaks location is now boarded.]

mr-cecils-zoomout.jpgKat Odell at Eater LA has some backstory: a steep rent increase killed the Pico location, and Manhattan Beach and The Valley are reportedly being shopped. "Shunji Nakao of Asanebo fame (who also launched the short lived Shunji's earlier this year), has stepped up to next claim the West LA eatery," Odell writes. Also: Hideo Yamashiro, aka chef Shiro, will close Orris on Sawtelle Boulevard at the end of January.

West Pico is not all bad news. A few blocks east of Mr. Cecil's, Freddy's Bar and Kitchen, from the founder of The Counter, opened this month in the former El Serape across the street from the San Francisco Saloon Company and Jamaica's Cakes.

Meanwhile in Westwood: Lots of work going on inside the former Hamlet Gardens on Glendon Avenue, after months of inactivity. Skylight Gardens hopes to open soon after the new year.skylight-gardens-sign.jpg Around the corner on Lindbrook Drive, next to Peet's Coffee in the historic-landmark former Ralphs building, 800 Degrees has been previewed for Westwood community types and food editors. It's due to open Jan. 3. The concept is quick but good and not-expensive Neapolitan pizza from former Michael Mina corporate chef Anthony Carron and the Umami Restaurant Group.

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