The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee of the Los Angeles City Council may decide Tuesday whether the nearly 131-year old Nishiyama residence and Otomisan Japanese Restaurant in Boyle Heights will advance to the next stage in obtaining historic-cultural designation.
Otomisan, located at 2506 E. First St., began as Otemo Sushi Café in 1956 at a time when there was a substantial Japanese American population in Boyle Heights. Today, Otomisan is the only Japanese restaurant remaining in the area. It has had three owners: Seto family, 1956-early 1970s; Seino family, 1970s-2005; and Yayoi Watanabe, 2005 to the present.
Ryohei Nishiyama immigrated from Shizuoka in 1906 and initially worked as a farm laborer before establishing a grocery store at 208 N. Alameda St. in Little Tokyo. He also operated a confectionery store at 129 E. First St.
Originally constructed in 1890, the one-and-one-half-story Queen Anne-style structure at 2508 E. First St. changed hands sometime in the 1920s. A 1924 building permit is the earliest known record identifying Nishiyama as the owner of the structure. That same year, J. Taniguchi was contracted to build a one-story building in front of the Nishiyama residence.
The Los Angeles Conservancy and Boyle Heights Community Partners have been spearheading efforts on behalf of the Nishiyama/Otomisan properties. The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission recommended approval of the designation on Aug. 11 and is seeking a categorical exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines to add the property to the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments.
The PLUM Committee hearing, headed by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, will be held starting at 2 p.m. Members of the public who wish to comment may call (669) 254-5252. Meeting ID is 161 644 6631; press # and press # again. Once admitted to the meeting, follow the prompts to request to speak.
Written comments may be submitted to City Clerk, City of Los Angeles, Room 395, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Reference: CHC-2020-6022-HCM and ENV-2020-6023-CD, Council District 14.