And They’re Always Glad You Came: Neighbor LAAuthor:Abigail Stone
Under the direction of owner Kristian Vallas and Chef Joshua Luce, Neighbor LA turns a house on Abbot Kinney into a homey bistro.
It helps when the people who run a neighborhood restaurant live nearby. It’s the secret ingredient that turns a cute space into one that becomes a regular spot. Such is the case with Neighbor LA, a new restaurant on Abbot Kinney.
“When this space became available, I didn’t hesitate because I had a vision and I understood what we needed in our community,” says owner Kristian Vallas, who also shouldered the space’s interior design, “We wanted to create a place that gives our friends and neighbors a place to go where they can feel at home, whether it’s for brunch, a dinner date, cocktails with friends or that power lunch.”
The challenge was creating a space that addressed multiple desires out of the existing restaurant. “Instead of designing the entire restaurant with the traditional table and chairs set-up, we created places that feel more like a living room, with custom sofas, unique table selections, artwork and plants,” says Vallas, “That allows guests, alongside the expected spots, the choice of having sitting on the couch or cocktails at a long table outdoors.”
“The original space felt a little stuffy so the natural tendency was to make it lighter and brighter,” says Chef Joshua Luce. The comfortable and welcoming space provides the perfect setting for his menu, where plates are meant to be served and shared together.
“We sort of reflect the Venice/Angeleno lifestyle-at-large,” Luce explains. Market-fresh produce, organic meats and intriguing spirits are combined in ways which reflect the diversity and sophistication of the neighborhood’s influences, from Italian to Mexican, Japanese to Middle Eastern. For brunch that might mean choosing between a tuna conserva, with danish rye, labne, caper berries and sundried tomatoes, heirloom teriyaki rice with a sunnyside up egg, edamame, smoked salmon and nori and sunny egg, edamame, smoked salmon, nori, a chayote squash tostada or a croque monsieur. Lunch, dinner and cocktails offer a similar medley of choices.
“We created a space that has life and a pulse,” says Vallas. “As customers walk through the space and see the expansive bar area and then the patio lounge area with custom couches and unique coffee tables, followed by outdoor bistro seating overlooking the garden, they really begin to really light up.”
Neighborhood LA, 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, 310.314.3625