the first, and most obvious, question you get asked when you’re opening a restaurant is, ‘why on earth would you ever want to open a restaurant?’ to open a restaurant you have to find and renovate a space, jump through 20,000 beaureaucratic hoops, come up with remarkable food, and make sure that everything works flawlessly. and at the end of all this, if you’re lucky, you’ll break even. maybe.
thus the obvious question: ‘why would you ever want to open a restaurant?’ for me it’s the ability to take a bunch of the things i care about: food, community, veganism, architecture & design, and represent them in one space.
i can write about food and veganism and architecture & design, but it’s a lot more compelling and interesting to open a restaurant and show actual, physical examples of food, community, veganism, and architecture & design. blogs and Instagram are great, but a picture of food will never replace an actual, beautiful plate of food served in a beautiful space.
and that’s the simple hope i have for little pine: beautiful vegan food in a beautiful space. also conveniently located down the street from where i live… because if you’re going to open a restaurant you might as well open a restaurant that you can ride your bike to or walk to a few times a day.
and why is it called ‘little pine’? when i first moved to l.a. i was talking to a friend in new york and i said, ‘broadly speaking, there are two l.a.’s, the l.a. of palm trees and the l.a. of pine trees.’ and i like palm trees, but i love pine trees. i’ve always loved images of pine forests: in state parks, on mountain tops, pine boughs bent under snow or framed against a perfect blue sky. and, ironically, pine trees are more native to southern california than most palm trees. oh, and ‘little’ because i’m not very big.
the food at little pine is, of course, why the restaurant exists. i wanted the food at little pine to be mediterranean and california inspired, and effortlessly plant based. having been a vegan for 28 years i’ve seen vegan food go from plates of mashed yeast (thanks, woody allen), to remarkable celebrations of produce and organic ingredients. the food at little pine is always vegan, with no exceptions. i don’t eat non-vegan food at home, so i don’t know why i’d serve anything other than vegan food in my restaurant.
and for the non-sober: little pine also has a remarkable and extensive vegan wine menu. 28 years ago a vegan meal would’ve been canned beans and yeast with a glass of warm water. now it can be broccoli arancini, truffled pasta, and a glass of pinot noir.
so, that’s little pine. a vegan restaurant in a baffling little art-deco building in silver lake.
hopefully see you soon,