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Famima!! opens at 700 Wilshire in downtown

Downtown L.A.'s newest Famima at 700 Wilshire Blvd. Elina Shatkin Los Angeles TimesToday, upscale Japanese-originated convenience store Famima!! opened its fifth downtown location at 700 Wilshire Blvd. between Hope and Flower. The store was jumping at lunchtime as captains of industry rubbed elbows with homeless people queuing up for free coffee. (Famima!! minions in neon green T-shirts were posted on nearby street corners handing out coupons.) The small convenience mart should be a pleasant addition to nearby office workers' lunchtime options, though it's strictly carryout, so you'll still have to schlep to your desk or find an accommodating bench.

Famima!! offers the usual selection of chips, candy and soda, but their stock in trade is an in-house line of prepared meals and snacks that are a cut above the usual corner store fare: A French Toast breakfast sandwich; fresh Cobb, southwestern and Thai salads; sandwiches like a smoked turkey and Havarti panini; sushi that's far better than the stuff sold at Trader Joe's (not that that's saying much); various Asian and Italian noodle dishes; hot dogs; corn dogs; bao; buffalo wings; individual cupcakes; high-end supermarket chocolates; and what is perhaps their best known snack, crisp, deep-fried curry bread.

The hours vary depending on whether you trust the website and who you talk to, but it will be open seven days a week.

As for the name, the online debate continues as to whether this amalgamation of "family + mart" sounds charming or like "famine." And what's with the two exclamation points? That's like giving someone two dozen roses. It's just overkill.

--Elina Shatkin

Photos: Elina Shatkin / Los Angeles Times

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They have the BEST paninis!

The name is short for family mart. Famima is much quicker to say than famirimaato.


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