Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant | Los Angeles Conservancy
Otomisan Japanese Restaurant. Photo by Sue Hwang.

Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant

Update:  The nomination for the Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant was to be heard at the City's Planning and Land Use Management Committee on October 19, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. but the meeting was cancelled due to lack of quorum. We will post the new hearing date when it becomes available. For now, you can go to "How You Can Help" tab for instructions on how to support!


The property located at 2504-2508 East First Street consists of a one and one-half story Queen Anne style residence and a one-story vernacular commercial building, significant for its association with early Japanese American settlement patterns in Boyle Heights and for its association with commercial development along the East First Street streetcar line in the 1920s. 

In May 2020, the Conservancy in partnership with the Boyle Heights Community Partners submitted a Historic-Cultural Monument nomination for the property. On November 5, 2020, the Cultural Heritage Commission voted to take the nomination of the Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant under consideration. On August 5, 2021, the Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously to recommend the property be designated. 

The property at 2504-2508 East First Street narrates the story of Japanese Americans in Los Angeles with rare representation in the built environment. The commercial building originally housed a Japanese-operated grocery store, and later included a Japanese-operated florist shop and barber shop. In the 1950s, the grocery store was converted to a food establishment. In 1956, Otemo Sushi Café (now called Otomisan Japanese Restaurant) opened in the easternmost storefront of the commercial building. Otomisan is the last remaining Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood and believed to be one of the oldest continuously-operating Japanese restaurants in Los Angeles.

The Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant represents multiple layers of historical and cultural significance, including early residential development in Boyle Heights, streetcar commercial development, and Japanese American commercial development in Boyle Heights. The property also represents the entrepreneurial and enduring spirit of the Nishiyama Family. Their contributions and legacy were multiplied by the Japanese business owners that were associated with the property before and after World War II.

In 2008, the CRA/LA Intensive Historic Resources Survey Adelante Eastside Redevelopment Area identified the residence (2508 East First Street) as an eligible historic resource for its association with the Queen Anne style and culture of late 19th/early 20th century residential architecture. In addition, SurveyLA's Los Angeles Citywide Historic Context Statement: Japanese Americans in Los Angeles identified the commercial building (2504-2506 1/2 East First Street) as an eligible historic resource for being the longterm location of a business important to the commercial identify of Boyle Heights.

The Conservancy and the Boyle Heights Community Partners have partnered to submit the Historic-Cultural Monument nomination of the Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant. This property tells the story of a pioneering Japanese American family who created economic promise for Japanese and Japanese Americans in Los Angeles during a time when their opportunities were restricted due to land ownership, housing, and job discrimination. This story has rare representation in the built environment and if designated, will increase representation of L.A.'s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) heritage in the City's Historic-Cultural Monument program.

 

We need your help to designate the Nishiyama Residence/Otomisan Japanese Restaurant! 

Submit written public comment in support of this nomination. Go to https://cityclerk.lacity.org/publiccomment/ and use Council File number: 21-0916

Stay informed about this project by checking this webpage, or you may contact M. Rosalind Sagara, rsagara@laconservancy.org

Thank you for your support!