David Bernahl and Rob Weakley, the two behind the food festivals Pebble Beach Food & Wine and Los Angeles Food & Wine, are set to open their first downtown Los Angeles restaurant, Faith & Flower, on March 31.
No strangers to the area, they said they bypassed neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills and Santa Monica to base Food & Wine in downtown's L.A. Live.
"We loved the energy, community and excitement around downtown," said Bernahl.
So when the space at the intersection of Flower and 9th streets, which was formerly Towne Food & Drink, became available, they seized the opportunity, partnering with Stephane Bombet's recently formed Bombet Hospitality Group to launch Faith & Flower. Bombet was formerly partnered with chef Ricardo Zarate and opened downtown's Mo-Chica as well as Picca and Paiche.
The 140-seat Faith & Flower, designed by AvroKo, has been recast with references to downtown's former entertainment ties. "It's a little more plush, a little more glamorous," Bernahl said.
Chandeliers hang from the high ceilings, and tufted Chesterfield sofas line the walls. At the entrance is a raw bar, and a cocktail lounge sports a long bar and high tables. Whitewashed antique doors (including a door from one of Bob Hope's dressing rooms) line a back wall, and a collection of vintage hand mirrors are arranged as art. A mural of a woman was painted by Robert Vargas.
The executive chef is Michael Hung, whose opening menu, subject to change, might include San Diego halibut carpaccio with pomelo and ruby grapefruit, herbed crème fraiche and brioche croutons; Chinese chile-soybean oxtail agnolotti glazed in bone marrow butter; duck liver mousse tarts with grenadine-candied onion; and a salad of roasted carrots and brassicas with smoked Greek yogurt and sherry-shallot vinaigrette.
The cocktail program was designed by lead mixologist Michael Lay, inspired by the Gilded Age and Roaring '20s in downtown Los Angeles. The first part of the menu will feature classic cocktails with roots in the turn of the 19th century, and the second will be original recipes.
The milk punch is made with Cognac, bourbon, Jamaican rums, absinthe, pineapple, spices and milk clarification; an Olvera cocktail has mezcal, Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur, Royal Combier, Cherry Heering, orange bitters and lapsang souchong vapor; and the Stormy Phosphate is made with Lost Spirits Navy rum, lime gum syrup, acid phosphate and ginger beer. Some cocktails will be served table-side.
Bernahl and Weakley's Coastal Luxury Management also includes Cannery Row Brewing Co. and Restaurant 1833 in Northern California.
Faith & Flower, 705 W. 9th St., Los Angeles.