Downtown Disney continues evolving with La Brea and more closing, but Earl of Sandwich returning

by Jon Self

Back during Disney’s D23 Expo, crowds were told the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort would evolve. That evolution took several steps today with the closure of places like La Brea Bakery, Disney Home, and WonderGround Gallery. However, Earl of Sandwich is returning to the Downtown Disney District.

Downtown Disney District Concept art form D23
Concept art of future look of Downtown Disney District.

Disney previously revealed their plans to introduce more than a dozen new and reinterpreted locations to the Downtown Disney District. Disney also said this multi-year project would reimagine the Downtown Disney District with an “even broader” collection of shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences. Ripples of this evolutionary change became far more apparent today.

La Brea Bakery Cafe Closed in Downtown Disney District

La Brea Bakery

La Brea Bakery Café permanently closed its locations in Los Angeles and Downtown Disney District in Anaheim on Jan. 9, 2023. The Downtown Disney District location originally opened in 1999. In a statement, the company said it decided to leave the restaurant business and focus on growing the La Brea Bakery business through retail grocery and food service locations. Tyson Yu, CEO of Aspire Bakeries, which owns La Brea Bakery said, “While we will no longer be operating the Cafés in Los Angeles or at Disneyland Resort, you can still find our delicious La Brea Bakery artisan breads in your local grocery in-store bakery and at other locations that serve artisan breads.” You can find their bread products in various grocery stores across the country, including local Southern California area stores such as Ralph’s, Vons, Pavilions and others.

La Brea Bakery Cafe
Photo from La Brea Bakery’s social media.

Employees at the Los Angeles and Downtown Disney Café locations were informed of the closures today. The Aspire Bakeries Human Resources team began working directly with employees impacted by the closures to ease the transition.

Disney Home and WonderGround Gallery closing temporarily

WonderGround Gallery Downtown Disney District
Photo by Disneyland

The retail stores, Disney Home and WonderGround Gallery, closed today also. Yet, their fate remains positive as opposed to La Brea Bakery. These retail shops will reopen. Both will reopen at a later date after a refurbishment of their interiors. Disney wants guests to know they can visit World of Disney to pick up some home decor, and enjoy a temporary pop-up WonderGround Gallery location near Star Wars Trading Post for artwork and prints during the refurbishment.

Earl of Sandwich Returning to Downtown Disney District

Earl of Sandwich Returning to Downtown Disney District

Earl of Sandwich will be returning to the Downtown Disney District in February. Earl of Sandwich closed back in 2018 to make way for other construction. However, Earl of Sandwich will once again offer hot sandwiches with grab-and-go options at Earl of Sandwich or table service options at Earl of Sandwich Tavern. Both of these will be temporarily located in the former La Brea Bakery location.

Porto’s Bakery and Cafe opening in the future

Porto's Bakery and Cafe coming to Downtown Disney District

We do know one bakery style establishment coming to Disneyland Resort that could fill the absence of La Brea Bakery Cafe. Disney previously announced Porto’s Bakery and Café would open in the Downtown Disney District. Plans are underway to create an all-new Porto’s location near the Esplanade on the footprint of the La Brea Bakery location. This Southern California restaurant, known for its sweet pastries, desserts, and California Cuban-inspired cuisine has yet to announce an opening date for this location. Their official website still does not list the news of this location opening.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen becoming Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio

Ralph Brennan Jazz Kitchen entrance.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen continues the evolution of its location into Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio. Guests can enjoy the ambiance across the outdoor patios, veranda, and dining rooms. Jazz Kitchen’s “all-day” menu will feature the Pasta Jambalaya and Gumbo Ya-Ya, plus items like open-faced Grilled Lobster BLT Po’ Boy. Signature hand-crafted beignets will continue to be a staple. Yet, some new varieties will also be added. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen will be closed for a short time to accommodate continued work on the newly refurbished first-floor dining space.

Din Tai Fung restaurant

Din Tai Fung restaurant coming to Downtown Disney District

Disney Parks Blog revealed a first look at concept art for the Din Tai Fung restaurant. This restaurant will open on the west side of the district in the future.

Which of these announcements about the evolution of the Downtown Disney District are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments below


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