It seems that Walter El Nagar, the transient chef who has made a home for his Barbershop Ristorante pop-ups all over the city, is moving on from Los Angeles altogether. In an email sent to Eater, El Nagar says that he’ll be staging one last goodbye pop-up series
at Service & Supply (yes, an actual barber shop) in Venice, beginning March 29 and running through April. After that, he’s gone.
The loss of El Nagar is a particularly striking one, following the chef’s string of opportunities around greater Los Angeles. Not only did he run successful pop-ups at places like Japanese Knife Imports in Beverly Hills on and off for years, he also was in talks with Adam Fleischman at one time to give those pop-ups a permanent home in Downtown. That eventually fell through, and El Nagar ended up at SMYC in Santa Monica, but only lasted about a month as he and owner Andrew Kirschner fell out over some creative differences.
In regards to what’s next, El Nagar says that he’ll be moving on to Europe for a touring series of dinners that will begin in June in Barcelona and ultimately conclude in his hometown of Milan, Italy. After that, he’s not quite sure.
As for the pop-up dinners themselves, El Nagar will be charging $75 for five courses that comprise new dishes and old favorites, alongside a $25 drink pairing. There will be two seatings each Tuesday and Wednesday night — one at 7 p.m., the other at 8:30 p.m. — through April, and you’ll have to make reservations via the website beforehand. And then, once it’s gone it’s gone. Which, ultimately, is how El Nagar’s pop-ups were always meant to be.
Update: El Nagar says that the final dates of his pop-up will run at the Wilshire Lofts instead, at 700 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown.