Just before the end of the year, Austrian chef Bernhard Mairinger closed his Beverly Hills bistro BierBeisl with the idea of relocating to the Westside. He's still working on that, but meanwhile the chance to open a place in downtown L.A. came up and he's jumping on it.
Sometime this summer the 29-year-old, over-6'7" chef will open BierBeisl Imbiss in the Spring Arcade Building on 5th Street between Broadway and Spring. The location is right in the thick of downtown's thriving restaurant scene, in a Beaux Arts/Spanish Renaissance building that dates from 1924.
His idea is to make BierBeisl Imbiss a much more casual place as opposed to the fine dining he'll feature at BierBeisl. Imbiss, in fact, is the German word for snack and also the name of little food stands you find in train stations and on and off major squares serving simple sandwiches and other fare.
BierBeisl Imbiss will be a more casual take on Austrian cuisine, less expensive than the original BierBeisl, with no expensive china or glassware. In fact the china won't be china at all, but wood or palm fiber or paper, everything recyclable, says Mairinger. But he will have the proper beer glasses for each beer.
The look will be rustic, with lots of wood and weathered steel. The restaurant will seat 50 to 60. He'll have a bar and outdoor seating, too. "We're in a three-story glass arcade that connects Broadway and Spring, so we'll have outdoor seating, but covered. You won't get all the noise from the street," he says. "It will be very European, actually."
He's bringing over a pastry chef from Austria and they'll be baking their own breads and rolls and desserts. "It will give us the chance to introduce more traditional Viennese pastries to Los Angeles."
Most importantly, what's on the menu? BierBeisl house salad (with crispy pork belly, corn, butter lettuce and pumpkin seed oil), schnitzel and a larger sausage menu that will include sandwiches made with some of the sausages.
He's just done a tour of Austrian breweries and is planning to bring in more private and smaller breweries that make specialty beers. "Eventually, I would love to have the entire beer list Austrian," says Mairinger.
BierBeisl Imdiss will be open from 11 a.m. to pretty much midnight, serving up dishes that are quick, easy and made with high-quality ingredients and Austrian flair. "Something simple and nice."