Chez Panisse Legend Alice Waters opens her first LA Lulu restaurant
Tomorrow, Los Angeles marks the arrival of Alice Waters, a food star and international culinary icon known for her genre-defining Bay Area restaurant. In Panisse and his tireless work in favor of sustainability, regenerative agriculture, and modern American – and especially Californian – restorative fashions. Its new restaurant Lulu opens inside the hammer museum Thursday, November 11.
The highly anticipated Lulu is, like any Waters project, intended to act – much like the museum itself – as a showcase, a place for art from local farmers and vendors to be highlighted for a paying audience. Waters’ work, of course, can be found in restaurants, creating meeting places around lightly manipulated dishes that showcase the sum of their ingredients; think of a simple bowl of perfectly seasonal fruits or (as with the new Lulu) a starter of baked Sonoma goat cheese with golden beets and lettuce. The restaurant will begin with a fixed-price three-course lunch offering and a la carte options, spread across a market menu that changes daily to reflect everything that has come from local producers. That could mean a halibut carpaccio one day, a lamb tagine with saffron couscous another, and a walnut cake with olive oil and pomegranate for dessert.
Although Waters is the spiritual backboard of the new Lulu, she is certainly not the only one bringing the daily life of the restaurant to life. Longtime food writer and Waters collaborator David Tanis is the restaurant’s chef, while Rosemary West runs the beverage side with a focus on female winemakers and biodynamic small vineyards. The whole project was designed in collaboration with Ann Philbin, director of Hammer, and the restaurant’s operations director is Jesse McBride, formerly of Chateau Marmont and the Standard hotel group. The CEO of the operation is Jaemie Ballesteros Altman of Chez Panisse.
As for the space itself, Lulu is a colorful touch of creativity, outfitted by designers Christina Kim and Sean Daly who use yellow, light red and jewel tones throughout. There are long, curved olive banquettes, scalloped ceilings, and large open-air atrium spaces for upscale but no-frills indoor-outdoor dining. There are no white tablecloths in Lulu, only hanging lanterns, warm daylight flowing from above, and little touches like rough-edged wooden tables and backlit bar shelves that reveal whimsical patterns. in woven fabric. Plants native to Southern California define the space, and on each table are bowls by ceramic artist Shoshi Watanabe and plates from the 111-year-old Bauer Pottery Company of LA.
Louie opens Thursday, November 11 at the Hammer Museum in Westwood at 10899 Wilshire Boulevard. The restaurant is open for lunch only to start, with hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, for a fixed-price sit-down menu and a la carte sandwiches, soups and salads; dinner times are yet to come, and reservations can be made via Resy.