4 restaurants and 32 miles with L.A. restaurateur Jeremy Fall

Restaurateur Jeremy Fall, outside Tinfoil, his liquor store and deli in Highland Park.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

At all of 26 years old, Jeremy Fall is trying to take over the hospitality industry in Los Angeles. The owner of Nighthawk Breakfast Bar, a breakfast-only restaurant and bar in Venice, has spent the last six months rolling out four new projects, including a burger joint, a liquor store with a hidden deli in the back, and two iterations of Nighthawk. He has also opened two successful Hollywood nightclub pop-ups, Genesis and Golden Box. In his downtime, he’s done stints as a clothing designer and an editor of a digital magazine.

You could say hospitality is in his blood. His Parisian mother is Florence Fall, who ran the now-closed Angelique Cafe, a well-known old-school French restaurant in downtown L.A., and the brasserie Saint Amour in Culver City. Between the ages of 10 and 16, Fall lived above Angelique Cafe. He started working there as a busser and server when he was 14, spending most of his time traveling back and forth through a connecting door between his family’s loft and the restaurant.

Fall discusses his ideas for that evening's party for Snapchat employees with hostess Caroline Locatelli at Nighthawk in Venice.
Fall discusses his ideas for that evening’s party for Snapchat employees with hostess Caroline Locatelli at Nighthawk in Venice.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

Fall got an internship promoting an L.A. club when he was 16 — and managed to get a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg to discuss using Facebook to promote the club. He can be a bit obsessive when he wants something, and he’s on a mission to change this city’s hospitality world.

“I think the beauty of hospitality is that you don’t have a box to work within,” says Fall.

Here’s a look at a recent day in the life of one of the busier men in Los Angeles.

11:42 a.m. at Unit 120 in Chinatown

Fall is standing over a scorching hot griddle, watching Alvin Cailan watch ground beef sizzle. Fall is wearing what he describes as his “usual attire”: a black T-shirt, black pants and sneakers. Neatly trimmed facial hair and a 6-foot-7 frame give him the presence of someone twice his age — or maybe a UCLA basketball star.

Fall has teamed up with Cailan, the chef behind the absurdly popular yolk porn at Eggslut, to open Easy’s, a burger joint that Fall and Cailan operate out of the takeout window at Cailan’s Unit 120 kitchen incubator space in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown. You can order burgers from the window during lunch for now, and the two men plan on opening a location in the future.

Hamburgers and fries, in custom boxes, at Easy's in Chinatown.
Hamburgers and fries, in custom boxes, at Easy’s in Chinatown.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

Fall tapped Cailan to create burgers that weren’t “too fussy” but that still included house-made American cheese, squishy soft buns and wheels of crispy pancetta. And Isa Fabro, former pastry chef at the lauded downtown restaurant Orsa & Winston, makes Easy’s milkshakes.

“I feel like there’s no real creativity below fine dining,” says Fall.

Fall counts boxes and takes a mental note of his inventory. He has a quality-control lunch of Cailan’s cheeseburgers and fries — not a bad way to start a Wednesday. Then he gets into his Prius and drives to the next stop.

2:04 p.m. 5 miles north on the 110 Freeway

Fall is standing outside of Tinfoil, his liquor store with a deli counter in the back in Highland Park, pointing up at the blue- and-white sign — the one that claims to have “the coldest beer in town.”

“I left the original sign, and I’m trying to keep it really true to the neighborhood,” he says.

Tinfoil, which opens in October, is where Fall is again teaming up with Cailan to create an old-school sandwich-oriented deli. In the store area, Fall is curating a mixture of high-end and affordable spirits. People can also build their own six-packs of beer.

“It’s not going to be some yuppy destination selling kale juice and salmon jerky,” says Fall.

Fall talks with his subcontractor Melbin Pinto about building a shelf to display a collection of vintage liquor bottles at Tinfoil.
Fall talks with his subcontractor Melbin Pinto about building a shelf to display a collection of vintage liquor bottles at Tinfoil.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

He walks through the liquor store area, still an empty space surrounded by old boxes and refrigerated shelves that once held six-packs of beer, to the deli in the back. His subcontractor Melbin Pinto is painting some doors when Fall walks in.

“So I have $500 worth of nickles in the trunk of my car,” he says to Pinto. “I want to lay them down on the floor and cover them with three coats of clear epoxy so it looks like an all-silver floor.”

Fall gives Pinto the lowdown of his plans for the space: an all-silver floor of nickels, a display of vintage airline liquor bottles, a deli counter lined with old beer boxes, a foil ceiling.

3:16 p.m. 8 miles southwest down the 110 and the 101 freeways

“I’m developing concepts every day,” says Fall. He’s quite serious. “I have like 50 concepts in my head right now,” continues Fall, who is prone to launching into Kanye West-style rants on the state of the hospitality industry, rants that actually make sense.

One of Fall’s many ideas is an upcoming Nighthawk pop-up at the Normandie Hotel in Koreatown planned for the fall. This one won’t be a breakfast bar, but where Fall will test new dishes and cocktails for an eventual Eastside Nighthawk.

And about a mile away from the hotel is the site of Fall’s planned Westlake restaurant, a mostly take-away version of Nighthawk with breakfast sandwiches, French toast sticks and no booze. For the restaurant, Fall partnered with the nonprofit Heart of Los Angeles, or HOLA, an organization that works to provide youth in need with free academic, athletic and art programs. Fall will employ alumni from HOLA at the restaurant, which is being built in a portion of the existing HOLA office space. He’s also using a portion of the space to open a commercial kitchen that might be used as a central kitchen for all of Fall’s restaurants, as well as an R&D lab.

People think I’m just some trust fund kid who started opening a bunch of bars to get chicks and get drunk, but that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do.

— Jeremy Fall

“I want to hold classes and seminars here,” he says, walking around a large kitchen space in the building. So far there’s just an oven hood in place. “How great would it be to do a wine seminar one day?”

So why a partnership with this specific nonprofit? Fall is hoping to create a new generation of kids interested in hospitality, and eventually invest in and create an incubator kitchen for them.

“My end game with this location and my partnership with HOLA is to help find, guide and train the next hospitality generation,” says Fall. “It’s my way of giving back to help develop new ideas and bring in talent to the industry.”

4:45 p.m. 19 miles southwest across the 10 Freeway

Fall is walking through the dining room at Nighthawk Breakfast Bar in Venice, his breakfast-only restaurant that has, with the nearby restaurants Charcoal and Leona, formed a kind of dining row on Washington Boulevard. Nighthawk’s interpretation of breakfast comes in the form of eggs Benedict fries, boozy cereal milk and foie gras with scrambled duck eggs. The chef, Greg Schroeppel, is a Spago veteran.

Back in the dining room, Fall preps for a large group from the nearby Snapchat offices that’s coming in for drinks after work. While he meticulously adjusts the lighting, no one else on staff seems to notice, the room going from dim to slightly darker and back again.

Jeremy Fall, right, talks with publicist Greg Rogers at Nighthawk.
Jeremy Fall, right, talks with publicist Greg Rogers at Nighthawk.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

“The lighting in here is so tough,” says Fall. When the sun goes down, the room gets dark enough that some patrons use their iPhone flashlights to read the menu — something Fall likes.

“People think I’m just some trust fund kid who started opening a bunch of bars to get chicks and get drunk, but that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do,” says Fall, as he absent-mindedly straightens a cup on a nearby table. “Because I opened bars, people put me in that nightlife box. But my heart is in food and restaurants.”

By now, young men in flannel shirts with hemmed pants and exposed socks, and women in high-wasted jeans sporting top knots are starting to crowd a communal table at the center of the restaurant. The Snapchat crew has arrived. Fall will spend the evening pacing through the dark restaurant, making sure the millennials — most Fall’s age, some likely older — are happy, checking on their cereal milk cocktails, their plates of drunken French toast.


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