Earlier this year, West Hollywood’s beloved Formosa Cafe came under attack after word spread that new management had come in with plans to overhaul the place without much regard towards the history of the restaurant. Well as it turns out that company, BRG (as in Broseph’s Restaurant Group, responsible for such bro-tastic spots as Brick + Mortar in Santa Monica and Open Air Kitchen + Bar), is now no longer involved.
Apparently Formosa owner Vince Jung and the BRG team, who had operational and management control, realized pretty quickly they weren't seeing eye-to-eye on the future of the storied haunt, which has played host to endless Hollywood luminaries over the decades. The neighborhood and conservationists had plenty to say as well, hammering the joint for tearing away much of the iconic photography and old school touches that made the place so beloved.
Well now BRG is gone (apparently the untangling took a while), and Jung and his team are more committed than ever to returning the place to its sense of former glory, while also cleaning it up and modernizing for the next generation to enjoy. Most of the 200+ photographs from the restaurant are being rehabbed and returned to their original locations, and the none-too-classy mural inside is being painted over and replaced with an original mirror as we speak.
The Formosa team will also be looking for help during the rehab, namely in the form of a ticketed Halloween party called the Dead Hollywood Halloween and Red Booth Fundraiser. The idea is to use the ticket funds and any donated money to help pay to reupholster the red vinyl booths, a staple of the look of the Formosa Cafe since essentially day one.
Other than that, things will progress slowly, as there’s a lot to touch up and redo inside. But it’s good to see one of Los Angeles’ most revered spaces being returned to the glory it once knew, without the help of a management company not exactly known for their soft touch.