Stop and Smell the RosesAuthor:Abigail Stone
The Rose Venice, opened by Manhar Patel and Kamal Kapur in 1979, is a Venice institution, as much a part of the neighborhood’s main street as sculptor Jonathan Borofsky’s ballerina clown. So, when it closed for renovations a few years ago, locals were understandably apprehensive.
Under the sensitive guidance of Studio UNLTD a daytime hang was turned into a welcoming all-day gathering spot. A bar, an updated patio and, an expanded menu from Chef Jason Neroni of Superba brought it into the 21st century while cement floors, large windows, skylights and an open ceiling with exposed rafters retained the welcoming feeling of the beloved original. “We were already working with the restaurant’s financial partners on other restaurant projects,” says Studio UNLTD’s Greg Bleier, referring to Bill Chait. The collaboration has birthed multiple success stories including Bestia and Otium.
“We needed to make sure that we didn’t take the place beyond recognition or create something which did not gel with the neighborhood,” says Bleier of the renovation. For inspiration they turned to Venice’s colorful history — of punks and skateboarders, artists and musicians, its bohemian vibe and its handmade undercurrent. “Chef Neroni wanted a restaurant that felt, at its heart, like Venice and unmistakably Californian.” That extends to food. Alongside familiar dishes, like the curried chicken salad, the new offerings are pure Los Angeles: avocado toast and a breakfast sandwich, a charcuterie platter, various pastas and a cauliflower steak.
In its previous incarnation the restaurant had showcased neighborhood artists. Studio UNLTD ensured this new version did the same. Neroni explains, “We kept the rose mural at the front entrance and some exterior signage and we brought in local artists like Craig Stecyk and Priscilla Witte.” Punk historian Bryann Ray Turcotte was tapped to curate a selection of punk rock posters which hang on the walls near the bathrooms. “They’re all bands that are significant to the SoCal scene,” says Neroni. Custom hand-crafted elements created by Studio UNLTD, like the woven macramé back bar elements and the planter macramé chandelier, contribute to an environment which encourages patrons make themselves at home.
“We enhanced the experience while still being able to preserve the soul of the original restaurant and the neighborhood has responded in kind,” says Bleier. “It is now more beloved than ever before.”
The Rose Venice, 220 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA 90291, 310.399.0711