Ford's Filling Station, one of the earlier gastropub variants to hit Los Angeles about ten years ago in then-quiet Culver City, closed rather abruptly without fanfare last night. The community-focused eatery from Ben Ford had a fair amount of local and national press when it opened, launching Downtown Culver City into one of the city's most vibrant dining districts. One of the earlier seasonal, meat-centric spots that went on to win local competitions like Cochon 555 and entertain the likes of Alice Waters, Ford's Filling Station survived a radical transformation of the L.A. food scene, including a major recession.
After speaking with chef Ben Ford about leaving this part of town, he says he still has huge sentiment for the community, especially the chefs that he broke ground with to develop the area. As an iconic restaurant, Ford felt as if the Filling Station was the living room for Culver City.
According to staff, a major restaurant group is taking over the space while the Ford's crew vacates, though they're unable to disclose which organization that will be. It makes sense since Culver City is an ideal breeding ground for repeatable food concepts like LYFE Kitchen, Tender Greens, City Tavern, and Native Foods. Meanwhile in Downtown, Ford's Filling Station's location inside the J.W. Marriott is currently under the knife, with a scheduled opening in Fall 2014. They're planning to redesign the interior and make it more of a room instead of a spot with 100-foot ceilings.
In addition, a spokesperson mentioned that Ford's Filling Station might have plans to replicate in more Marriott spaces around the country. So in once sense, according to said spokesperson, moving out of the small Culver City outlet allows them to "move beyond mom and pop." The brand still has a spot inside LAX.