If you haven’t spent much time in West Adams now is the perfect time to start with the opening of The Shops at Adams Gateway. The shops are a collection of boutiques housed in brightly painted shipping containers that will transport your brood to a little village oasis that feels a world away. From organic produce to a classic BBQ joint, this is a community collective that you can feel good about supporting, and it’s a fabulous family outing to discover a cool neighborhood.

adams_exploringphoto: LeTania Kirkland

A Bright Idea
Adams Gateway was inspired by the already existing community and brought to life by local entrepreneurs and 10 shipping containers. The metal containers are usually used for shipping good across the ocean (your kids can check out the football fields worth of the containers at the docks in San Pedro) but folks around the world are discovering that these handy (and recycled) mini-buildings are a green and affordable way to carve out a little space in the world. Restaurateur, designer and West Adams resident Fred Sutherland joined forces with his partners Don Novack of Hal’s Restaurant in Venice, Noah Farrell of Abbot’s Habit coffee shop in Venice and Jessica Fischbein a representative on the West Adams Neighborhood Council and educator, to create a space for new businesses to thrive in a city that can make it hard to get started.

adams_organicphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Little Village (Perfect for Little People)
The shipping containers are meticulously placed in the lot that makes it feel like a bit of a maze just asking to be explored by your little Lewis & Clarks. The lot was simply paved with a bit of gravel complete with old toy trucks and re-purposed material throughout the yard that give it a feel of play space meets art gallery. There are even robot sculptures made from recycled metal and car parts for the kids to marvel over. For parents there is a variety of shopping that includes organic produce at Daily Organics, Rockabilly inspired gear from Superiority Complex, Rocket Vintage, a sweet garden of succulents and other plants at Daisy Chain and Vinyl records from Dig It Vinyl, to name a few. And to help you keep up your strength the Adams Gateway Coffee Co. will be opening soon. Besides the shipping containers, the gateway includes three other businesses housed in traditional buildings that include a real estate collective, hair salon Hairfinery and jeweler Just Tantau (Mama’s day is coming up, if you want to send the gang shopping while you relax with a coffee…).

adams_jnjphoto: LeTania Kirkland

The Original
The Gateway isn’t just the new stuff. J “N” J Bar-B-Que and Burgers has been dishing out favorites on the corner of Adams and Spaulding Avenue for 22 years. J “N” J stands on its own but the containers and the restaurant somehow seem to complement each other perfectly with their open-air, welcoming vibe.  If you’re going to visit, come hungry (and prepared for sticky fingers and BBQ smeared clothes) to enjoy classics like smoked ribs, pulled pork, macaroni salad and collard greens.

adams_drivingphoto: LeTania Kirkland

A Space for Everyone
Each space in the Gateway has its own story and the collective was created to help them thrive. Daily Organics was started by landscape designer Renee Gunter who started selling organic produce out of the back of her classic pick up truck (that she has lovingly named Rosco) to underserved communities in the city. She sees the gateway as an opportunity to broaden her reach and develop a space where memories are created. This neighborhood “doesn’t need to be a best kept secret anymore,” she said. Daisy Zacarias of Superiority Complex specializes in rockabilly inspired clothing and accessories. She also features items made by local artisans and crafters. She says the Gateway was created to help bolster the local community and open it up to the larger world. “We want everyone to feel welcome.”

And you will.

adams_festivalphoto: Superiority Complex

Keep Your Eye on The Gateway
The Shops is hosting community events complete with food trucks, face painting and crafts for the kids. Keep and eye on their website and Facebook page to find out about future events, as they hope to make it a regular part of the space.

adams_trucksphoto: Cy Smith

Parking, Plentiful and Free
If the place wasn’t great enough, there is also a free parking lot. The entrance is directly off of Adams Blvd. Now you have no excuse not to visit and explore this inspiring and up and coming little shopping haven. The whole family can spend the day playing, shopping and eating, and return to your own neighborhood inspired by the possibilities.

The Shops at Adams Gateway
5746 West Adams Blvd.
West Adams
Online: adamsgateway.com

What’s your favorite up and coming spot in a newly hip ‘hood?  We’d love to check out more hidden gems, if you’ll tell us about them in the comment section!

—LeTania Kirkland