The corner of Echo Park Avenue and Montana Street in Echo Park is finally buzzing again. Restaurateur Dion Antic, known for his many bar concepts in Chicago (Harry's Velvet Room and Iggy's, to name a couple) has opened the Whisperer, a new bar and restaurant in the former Red Hill space, which closed in 2014.
The once bright yellow dining room has been transformed into a candlelit den with dark walls, plush leather booths and a lighting fixture over the bar that incorporates dozens of wine bottles. But this is still Echo Park, so the flannel shirts and the interesting facial hair remain. And lucky for you, there's still parking in the back.
Al Gordon and Jennyfer Rodgers collaborated on the opening menu, which includes barbecue, diner classics and even a little pasta. There's a big mug of chicken noodle soup called "mom's noodle broth," ribs you'd find at a BBQ joint, fried chicken with spicy mac and cheese, creamy orechiette, a wedge salad, shishito peppers and a patty melt.
The main focus of the menu is the wine list, curated by beverage director Amy Luftig Viste, who pairs the wines with your taste in music. The list suggests that a white blend from Portugal pairs well with the Beatles White Album, a Chenin Blanc should be sipped with a little Daft Punk and a Syrah and Grenache blend will have you reaching for Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy.
And instead of a standard restaurant playlist on the speakers overhead, Piper Ingram, head of programming for a company called Runaway Radio, is responsible for the dining room tunes. She also plans to host shows, eventually from a studio upstairs.
The Whisperer is open daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. That means it will be open the next time you stumble down the hill from a Dodger game, looking for a patty melt.
1325 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, (213) 537-0171, www.thewhispererla.com.
Fried chicken makes me happy. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jenn_Harris_