by Sophie Gayot
Last night, I heard some important restaurant news while attending the 15th annual fundraiser for UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Pretty Woman’s favorite hotel. There was a lot of good food from, Church & State, Lazy Ox Canteen, Patina, Rivera and Bottega Louie and fine wines from the Stags Leap District, a non-profit organization of Cabernet Sauvignon vintners and growers from Napa.
I arrived too late to try Patina’s Tony Esnault’s foie gras, but I still enjoyed some from Bottega Louie. I got to meet Church & State’s new chef, Joshua Smith, and reconnected with Lazy Ox Canteen’s Josef Centeno (who was kind enough to appear at my first radio show on KNX with Frank Mottek back in 2005). The breaking news came from Matthew Washton, the general manager of Rivera: the restaurant has taken over Grace restaurant and will open sometime this October as a more casual and less expensive version of Rivera.
I just spoke with Neal Fraser of Grace. He will close the Beverly Boulevard location on June 19th, and will open in the rectory of the Vibiana church downtown Los Angeles this winter or next spring. He is not sure about the name of his new place that he is developing with his wife Any Knoll Fraser, but it will be four times the size of Grace, spread over three floors, with a modern look. They will try to keep the structure of the building as original as possible as they create private dining rooms, a wine cellar, and a patio as well as a roof top patio. The food concept will be close to what has been served at Grace for many years (and probably cheaper). It will be open for lunch and dinner.
Back to the event, where Ryan Seacrest served as Honorary Co-chair to honor Ted Harbert, President & CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group. In all, more than $475,000 was raised for the researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center.
You can click on each photo to enlarge.