With a cross-country move and the opening of two successful restaurants all within three short years, the New York expats behind Kismet in Los Angeles are thinking big.
Sara Kramer, 32, and Sarah Hymanson, 31, met while working in the Brooklyn restaurant scene. After an inspiring visit to Los Angeles, they planned a cross-country move to open two restaurants—a falafel shop and a full-service spot—serving uncomplicated, delicious food with Middle Eastern inspiration.
For many who follow their dreams to the City of Angels, becoming a star can be a long hard journey full of rejection. But Kramer and Hymanson were welcomed with open arms and are rising to stardom quickly.
First, there was falafel. Upon arrival, the downtown Los Angeles food hall Grand Central Market approached Kramer and Hymanson about the location of their falafel shop, where lines now form for the traditional Middle Eastern sandwich served with all the fixings. It comes red or green. Red is served with tomato, cabbage, pickles, tahini, and basil. Green is served with cauliflower, fennel, labneh, and cilantro.
Kramer and Hymanson were also quickly approached by business partners John Shook and Vinny Dotolo to host a pop-up dinner at their highly acclaimed Fairfax restaurant Animal. Another partnership was born that night.
“I think they were totally looking just to feel us out to see if we would be good potential partners,” Hymanson says. “I’m pretty sure that night we started to have the conversation about working together.”
Kismet opened in January of 2017. The sleek, modern restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard seats about 50 at connecting tables and is open for all-day service. Kramer and Hymanson can often be seen in the restaurant, Hymanson in the open kitchen and Kramer greeting guests from the neighborhood community who make a regular meal of shakshuka.
Behind the scenes, Animal owners Shook and Dotolo serve as operating partners to Kramer and Hymanson. Their already-existing restaurant consortium provides Kramer and Hymanson with the administrative support that allows them to spend more time on staff, culture, and menu. The arrangement has been ideal, Hymanson says. And the pair are already working on another project.
“I think the fact that we’re even discussing another project would be out of the question without their support,” Kramer says. “The success of Kismet and us being able to maintain both businesses is definitely in part due to their assistance.”
The young chefs are tight-lipped about what the next project is, but one thing is for certain—they’ll be keeping active roles in all their projects for the foreseeable future.
“I love to cook, I always want to cook,” Hymanson says. “So, there’s that.”
Even with the best employees possible, which Kramer says the duo arguably has, there’s a certain level of involvement they must maintain.
“It’s important for us to maintain a presence and to keep motivating and to keep our involvement high for everyone’s sake, for our own and for our staff,” Kramer says. “And we want to. We love what we created, we love our community, so it would feel strange not to be involved on a very regular basis.”