Michael Voltaggio is a busy man these days. The prominent Top Chef winner and owner of ink. restaurant on Melrose is deep in the press junket throes for his new Travel Channel show Breaking Borders, which will be firing up the television screens shortly. He’s also, as it turns out, signing leases across Los Angeles for a planned expansion of his restaurant empire that could take him as far as Washington, D.C.
As part of an interview with Eater.com, Voltaggio notes to that he’s "ready to start expanding the restaurant part" of his life. Though he’s quick to say that no concepts have been officially nailed down, there are at least two concurrent leases running behind the scenes for Voltaggio, ready for him to install his next idea.
First, Voltaggio leans in on the sandwich concept he initially undertook at ink. sack, labeling it as a possible next stop. It would be a prudent move, one that would allow him to share his brand of cooking (and his brand in general) with a wider audience that may not otherwise go in for the higher prices and more dedicated meals at a restaurant like ink.
Still, like any good chef, Voltaggio is equally interested in a smaller restaurant as well, doing omakase-style tasting menus with just a few seats open per night. It’s a model that’s been done with plenty of success elsewhere around town (Maude, anyone?), so the groundwork is definitely already there. No word, though, on official locations for those background leases he’s already signed — just don't be surprised when one pops up in the former Gorge space on Sunset.
Voltaggio is also working on a plan to team up with his brother Bryan on the East Coast, though things are very much in the early stages. The idea is for a Maryland/D.C. collaboration, possibly on something smack dab in the middle of the casual spectrum, between grab-and-go sandwiches and tasting menu meals at a ten-seat restaurant. Whenever that lands, look out; Top Chef has some pretty rabid fans, and the chef-brother Voltaggio double-up might be too much for the world to take.