Luther, a comfortably overweight English bulldog, is looking to make friends at a bar in Montrose.
He's got a few new pals already, but most know him only as the inspiration behind the name of the Montrose Shopping Park's newest restaurant and bar, the Fat Dog.
That's Luther, with the wrinkled face and gangly underbite, painted on the massive canvas inside the new Honolulu Avenue eatery. The oversized water bowl on the sidewalk is his too.
“You want to call your place something that you love to say every day,” said Susann Mandeville, who co-owns the business with her husband, Richard Mandeville. “And we call our dog Luther, who we love, 'fat' every day.”
It's a daily enthusiasm that the Mandevilles, who opened the business in January, hope catches on with Montrose and the surrounding areas.
One good sign is the place already has a few regulars. Sun Valley resident Nate Mitchell parks himself at the bar to watch sports, grab a bite and drink a couple of beers about twice a week, he said.
“I think the food is great,” he said. “I like the presentation.”
The eatery is sort of a cross between a sports pub and sassy wine bar — a “gourmet comfort-food gastro pub,” Susan Mandeville said.
“It's sports and a pub, but we wanted it to be sexy enough for the girls to come, too,” she said.
Typical pub fare like sliders and mini happy-hour hot dogs collide on the menu with an artisanal cheese plate and a croque madame — the glorified ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top, a dish most commonly found in Parisian brasseries. Prepared by chef John Gladish, all plates, including appetizers, range from $6 to $14.
The menu item that, so far, has turned the most heads is an all-beef, 14” hot dog, which the Mandevilles, of course, have dubbed the Fat Dog.
“It stops people in their tracks,” said Richard Mandeville, a Pasadena native and La Cañada High School graduate.
Besides what they say is affordable, high-quality food, the Mandevilles are also looking to offer an option for Montrose-area residents looking for a late-night hangout.
Monday through Thursday, they're open until midnight. On Sundays, they close at 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, they're open — and still serving food — until 2 a.m.
Richard Mandeville acknowledged that Montrose isn't known for a hopping bar scene.
“It's sleepy Montrose,” he said.
But the Fat Dog's late hours could make it an attractive option for a reported influx of recent residents who may be looking for such a scene, said Glendale City Councilman John Drayman, the past president of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.
“What a lot of people don't get if they don't live there, is there is a tremendous number of new residents in the area, and they're anywhere from late 20s to early 40s and they're looking for the charm of the old town, and they're looking for some relevant .?.?. restaurants and bars and clubs and stores to go to,” Drayman said.
Sitting at the bar last week for the first time, San Marino resident Jeff Franco, who works in La Crescenta once a week, said he hoped the Fat Dog was in Montrose to stay.
“It's got a good feel to it, and that's coming from an old pub crawler,” Franco said. “I hope they make it.”