Ford's Filling Station, the Culver City gastropub from chef Ben Ford, closed its doors Sunday after eight years. The restaurant, known for being L.A.'s first gastropub, is credited with helping transform Culver City into a budding culinary destination for those beyond the Sony Pictures Studios set.
"We just had an offer that was very serendipitous with what’s going on with the company," said Ford. "Our business model is changing for our brand, and it will allow us to basically do more projects than we’ve been able to do before."
The L.A. Live location, which will be designed by Claire Stansfield, who also designed the new AOC restaurant, is slated to open this fall.
"It's going to be a grown-up version of what we did here [in Culver City], a little bit more polished," said Ford. "It's the same idea to create a community-based restaurant for the home away from home. And you know, it’s something that I feel is missing down there in the L.A. Live area."
Ford's Filling Station opened in 2006 and quickly became a go-to spot for people looking to experience gastropub food, with a menu that celebrated organic, sustainable ingredients whenever possible and featured plenty of pork, house potato chips and pub burgers.
And the decor, with its exposed brick, warm wood and rich leather, became a blueprint for others.
"We're really the first gastropub, after the Spotted Pig, in the country," Ford said. "You can’t be a gastropub without a community around you who are really the ones allowing you to be their living room."
Ford has been busy, with the release of his first cookbook, "Taming the Feast: Ben Ford's Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking," earlier this year and a second cookbook already in the works. He's also planning to expand the Ford's Filling Station brand into other areas.
"We're working on more licensing deals with hotels and airports now, and that’s really taking the brand down that line," said Ford. "We're also working on a new concept that is a hybrid between a fast casual and a QSR, quick service restaurant."
Ford said he'll be ready to introduce the new concept within the next six months.
Want more restaurant news? Follow me on Twitter at @Jenn_Harris_