Dedicated philanthropists and West Los Angeles natives, Executive Chef D. Brandon Walker and Chef Jill Davie, announced the opening of The Mar Vista, a relaxed neighborhood restaurant taking over the former music venue The Good Hurt in Mar Vista. Set to open fall 2016, The Mar Vista is designed to be a culinary meeting hub, enhanced by a nightly acoustic music program. Walker, who also serves as the executive chef of Bread & Roses Café—a full-service restaurant that feeds 750 homeless weekly—will implement a 360 degree philanthropic business model, by donating excess food back to Bread and Rose Café and providing externship opportunities for students of the Culinary Training Program he helms at St. Joseph’s Center.
“When formulating the idea of this restaurant, I knew in my heart that the Mar Vista neighborhood, a community that raised me, was my only choice for a location” says Walker. “I have watched the West L.A. area grow and change over the years, yet the culinary scene has remained largely unchanged. As an answer to that call, The Mar Vista has been designed to elevate the neighborhood’s restaurant standard and provide a location that locals can proudly call their own.”
Walker and Davie, who fittingly met at the former musical hall space during one of Walker’s musical performances, join forces as an executive chef culinary team, drawing from their Los Angeles backgrounds to curate a seasonally rotating and approachable menu that celebrates the melting pot of heritages and flavors found in the City of Angels. Davie, the former executive chef of beloved Santa Monica restaurant Josie, brings an enthusiasm for hyper-local ingredients as well as vast knowledge of Southern California produce from 11 years serving as Sunkist’s “Lemon Lady.” Chef de cuisine Jorge Rivas, himself a graduate of Chef D. Brandon Walker's Culinary Training Program, reconnects with his mentor as an integral member of the team. Rivas was formerly the executive chef at Blue Plate Restaurant Group, where he oversaw three different concepts across four locations.
“There is such anthropology to food—it says so much about people and culture,” says Davie. “Every plate will reflect the unique backgrounds and cuisines found throughout the varied districts of L.A. I’m excited to be opening a restaurant in the neighborhood Chef D. and I both grew up in, with a menu that plays tribute to, and celebrates, the city’s ethnically diverse landscape.”
The Mar Vista will serve a menu affectionately dubbed progressive Los Angeles cuisine” featuring innovative renditions of authentic local favorites, spanning a wide-ranging flavor profiles and giving nod to the communities hailing from North Africa, Central America, Asian, Mediterranean, and more. Daily specials, a Brazilian churrasco, and Jill Davie’s signature Cranked, a tableside device that uses vintage grinders to make “ugly” fruit into granita, complete the culinary concept. Opening menu items include the Mountain View Salad (made with ingredients harvested from the restaurant's plot located a few blocks away on Mountain View Avenue); the L.A. Lau Lau with braised beef cheeks, white fish, smoked yucca steamed collard and jus; and the Pulled Pork Spare Rib Meatballs with guajillo chile mole, Anson Mills summer corn grits, black kale, and poached tomatoes. A selection of rare label wines and craft cocktails will also be presented.
The Mar Vista will preserve elements of the original 1967 building, such as the iconic vintage sign, in addition to installing a custom mural in the parking lot by Julie Monk (the original artist of The Good Hurt’s iconic “eye painting”). The spacious restaurant is designed by Reed Architectural Group and interior designer Greg Swanson, and boasts a relaxed indoor/outdoor garden-feel with an expansive deck, four large skylights, and bustling open exhibition kitchen. Earth tones, hanging plants, and a high ceiling give the space a relaxed, California feel, and large communal tables and plush booths lining the walls complete the inviting, open dining room. Additionally, design tributes scattered throughout the unobstructed open dining space, such as a large-scale fresco painted by Chef D’s brother and artist, Cardell Walker, honor the Mar Vista neighborhood’s history and landmarks.
An avid musician himself, Walker is pleased to offer a strong, curated music program that will feature a selection of nightly live music from such mellow genres as jazz and bluegrass, presented on a dropdown “Murphy Bed” stage. To further the musical program, The Mar Vista will partner with neighboring recording studio Timewarp Music. The studio will install permanent lines for live recordings of select performances, with profits returning to philanthropic projects, like the Bread & Roses Café, and the Culinary Training Program.