There are certain restaurants in this fine city of ours that scream "Made in LA": the delis that have been around for decades, the brunch restaurants that you go to every weekend, the Irish pubs with your name carved in the table. Some end up closing for good, but others have taken the time to reinvent themselves and come back with a bang. These four nominees for best new LA institution revival have won our hearts all over again.
See the other contenders for the 2014 Food & Drink Awards and cast your ballot for the best new LA institution revival of the year.
*Voting ends April 21 and the winners will be announced on May 12.
Don't fret, Chicagoans: The misleadingly-named Hollywood Pies bakes a little slice of home into Pico-Robertson. The deep dish place originally operated a comcially sketchy pick-up service—order ahead, pull up to the curb and exchange the goods—but has since opened up a dine-in area. Call (323-337-3212) or text (323-919-0606) ahead your order because—deep dish eaters, you know the drill—those cheesey casseroles take some time to cook.
Nancy Silverton is credited with single-handedly introducing Angelenos to the joys of the fresh, flavorsome loaf. In the two-plus decades since her store opened, she's become a household name and her store has grown into an international operation. The bakery's newest home on the corner of La Brea and 6th Street—which opened during its 25-year anniversary— is larger than ever, accommodating space for lone diners to sit at the counter top while sipping on coffee and a pastry, or groups of friends to camp out in the café's dining area, where they can munch on turkey avocado sandwiches followed by arguably one of LA's best chocolate chip cookies. It's an institution we hope will last for another 25 years—and then some.
When the 63-year-old Tom Bergin's temporarily closed for renovations late last year, everyone was concerned about the shamrocks—the cardboard clovers bearing the names of the Irish tavern's regulars of past and present tacked to the ceiling. Thankfully, the shamrocks survived the eight-month renovation, as did the lovely U-shaped bar and dark wood panels. New owners Warner Ebbink and chef Brandon Boudet—together they also own Dominick's and Little Dom's—focused on retaining the tavern's history while modernizing its experience. The beer taps are all brand new, the green leather booths have a shiny sheen and the menu now features slightly upscale Irish fare, with the prices to match. The baked Cooleeney cheese, for example, is served with plump, in-season figs, while the tender, properly salty corned beef is cured in-house. The lovely Carrageenan pudding, with just a hint of Meyer lemon, is a welcome light ending to the meal. Vitals Eat This: Tom Bergin's corned beef and cabbage ($18) will serve you well and have you wanting enough leftover to make a sandwich for next day's lunch. And don’t forget dessert—made with pastry chef Ann Kirk's homey touch—which are an unexpected surprise. Drink This: The Irish coffee, natch. In addition, the cocktail menu has been updated thanks to mixologists Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest (1886, Neat). Try the Cooper Union ($12), a slightly sweet, strong take on the Old-Fashioned made with Irish whiskey and elderflower liqueur. Sit here: T
Fans of SM Pier Seafood need not worry: The new version of the iconic Santa Monica Pier staple is in good hands. Yunnie Kim Morena, daughter of the founders of SM Pier Seafood, continues the legacy of her parents at the helm of The Albright, bringing in a new look and an updated menu. Try fresh twists on pier classics like grilled black tiger shrimp tacos and spicy seafood soup, and peruse through an impressive new craft beer program with more than 50 varieties.