POMONA - A downtown businessman with plans to open a sushi restaurant on East Second Street on will go before the City Council tonight seeking changes to the location's conditional use permit.

John Pena, operator of several establishments downtown, has plans to open a sushi restaurant in what was once the site of Angelo's Pizzeria in the 100 block of East Second Street in the city's downtown.

City Council members imposed several restrictions on the activities taking place at the site after the pizza business became linked to problems such as fights and arrests for public intoxication. Modifications were made at various time in recent years.

Pena said he is seeking the modifications to the permit under a previous operator because he wants "to have some of the same options other (downtown establishments) have."

Pena is proposing modifying the existing permit to allow customers under the age of 21 in the restaurant until 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and the day before federal holidays, according to a city staff report.

As it is now, the staff report said, people under 21 cannot be in the business after 10 p.m.

In addition Pena is asking for the permit to be adjusted to allow his restaurant to:

  • Serve alcohol until 1:45 a.m., 15 more minutes than currently authorized.

  • Have live entertainment and DJ pre-recorded music no later than 2 a.

    Advertisement

    m.

  • Have non-DJ pre-recorded music until 4 a.m.

  • Allow use of an outdoor area until 4 a.m.

    Pena is also asking that the business be allowed to stay open until 4 a.m., seven days a week - two hours longer than existing permit allows.

    Pena is seeking authorization to make changes to the front of the building to create a larger outdoor patio; consolidating three bars into one; and creating a sushi bar, the staff report said.

    Pena said he plans to invest $600,000 to improve location.

    "Hopefully it will attract residents of other cities," he said. Once the improvements are made the restaurant is "going to be eye appealing."

    The look of the establishment along with the quality of the food is expected to make the restaurant one that will be able to compete with those in the likes of downtown Pasadena and other cities.

    City planning division personnel have recommended the City Council approve the requested changes, the staff report said.

    The changes are not expected to have a negative effect on the neighborhood but "will enable the facility to provide restaurant and entertainment services for area resident and patrons," the staff report said.

    Councilwoman Paula Lantz, who represents the portion of downtown where Pena proposes to establish the restaurant, said the conditions the City Council set were created to address problems with Angelo's.

    "The most recent operator took care of business" and the establishment ran without problems, said Lantz.

    "Hopefully this operator will be as responsible as the last one," she said.

    Carolyn Hemming, president of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association, said Pena has been successful operating lounge and entertainment businesses.

    "He has a proven track record," she said.


    Reach Monica via email or call her at 909-483-9336.