Even before Michael Schwartz opens new Italian concept Fi’lia at the SLS Hotel in Brickell, the restaurateur will debut a location of it in Los Angeles.
The eatery, situated at the James West Hollywood - Sunset hotel, is slated to open in January 2017.
Located on the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards, the hotel is the first ground-up project in West Hollywood in about 30 years. The 286-room property's restaurants and bars will be managed by Disruptive Restaurant Group, which has tapped Schwartz for the restaurant. This is the James Beard Award winner's first West Coast restaurant, although he worked at Wolfgang Puck's Chinois in Santa Monica during his formative years as a chef.
Previously, Schwartz opened an outpost of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Grand Cayman. The chef has also partnered with Royal Caribbean for its 150 Central Park and Michael's Genuine Pubs. And he's planning restaurants at Paraiso Bay in Edgewater and Park Grove in Coconut Grove.
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Fi'lia, according to Schwartz, will not focus on any one region or style of Italian cuisine. Describing the restaurant to New Times, the chef said, "I'm not trying to be authentic, obviously, but there will be a foundation in proper Italian cooking. The food will be very ingredient-driven, with a super-pared-down menu with a nod to the Mediterranean — bright food paired with homemade pastas, pizzas, and our own bread program. It's how I like to eat."
In keeping with Schwartz's love for sourcing locally, the restaurant will offer handmade pastas and breads with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Though the menus for the two locations will be similar, each region will dictate some of the ingredients. In addition, the Los Angeles location will have some unique menu items.
The L.A. eatery's design will also be different. Wendy Haworth — who worked on Gracias Madre, Cafe Gratitude, and Cleo LA Live, the last opening this fall in downtown L.A. — will design the interior. Melrose Umbrella Co.'s Zachary Patterson will be the mixology partner for the bars. The property's lobby bar, three-meal-service café, and in-room dining menu will be handled by chef Chris Crary.
Of course, the big question is whether Hedy Goldsmith will team up with Schwartz for his L.A. restaurant debut. The lauded pastry chef moved to Los Angeles in spring 2015 with her wife Heidi after 25 years in the Magic City. Goldsmith and Schwartz parted as friends, with the restaurateur comparing their relationship to a marriage of sorts. "Hedy and I have a very special long-term relationship personally and professionally that transcends all titles," Schwartz said. "I said it at the Beard Awards that a large part of my success, both personally and professionally, has a lot to do with her influence and support."