Hollywood actress Jessica Biel had an idea. Open a restaurant that could cater to children, as well as adults. It's a difficult concept that few serious restaurateurs have attempted, but Au Fudge might finally be the place for parents to feel comfortable bringing the children for a nice lunch or dinner. Opening March 4 on tony Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, Jessica Biel's expansive restaurant is finally ready for lights, camera, action.
Of course, the criticism has been there since the world first learned of Biel's intentions to build a kid-friendly restaurant in the heart of one of LA's wealthiest, and most stylish, neighborhoods. World media dubbed the place the "Soho House for Kids," after the members only club reserved for Hollywood industry elite. But Au Fudge is not like Soho House. In fact, it's pretty far from an exclusive club, a place where only the rich and famous can dine with their children.
First off, the children's component does encompass about half the restaurant. A separate play area that takes over two rooms and even stretches into a "treehouse" of sorts, and the well-designed section will be monitored by special restaurant employees called Au Pairs. Parents can dine with their children and then check them into the kid's section. It's all pretty flexible, though there will be a nominal daily charge to allow children into this area.
Second, the food, which is mostly organic and seasonally driven, with a bent toward sustainability. Think a vegan caesar salad loaded up with quinoa (that's actually pretty tasty, and it comes topped with chicken, steak, or shrimp if you prefer). A grass-fed beef burger with spicy ranch, with a side of truffle fries. Or perhaps some chicken nuggets that both kids or parents can enjoy.
For something more substantial, they'll have steak frites with herb butter or an all day omelet (caviar, optional). In all, it's a crowd-pleasing menu that's healthful and wholesome, exactly the kind of fare people in the area want. And of course, an immense dessert section loaded with s'mores bread pudding, birthday cake (for any occasion), mixed berry cobbler topped with housemade ice cream, and sticky toffee pudding. A fudge flight caps off the sweets, offering milk chocolate, peanut butter, or peppermint varieties.
To drink, the place has a well-thought cocktail menu using tried-and-true recipes with a playful slant. The Little Prince is a pretty bourbon-lemon-honey drink topped with bee pollen while the S.W.A.K. fuses vodka, strawberry, and lemon is a terrific summer sipper.
Once all cylinders are firing, Au Fudge will offer morning pastries, coffee, and grab-and-go items to serve the area. While papparazzi will no doubt loom outside, Au Fudge is first and foremost a neighborhood restaurant meant to cater to families. While the intentions are immense, the whole team, including Greenleaf founder Jon Rollo, celebrity stylist Estee Stanley, and Biel herself, has been on the ground conceptualizing Au Fudge to be a premier LA restaurant.
Au Fudge is located 9010 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, California. Reservations accepted at 424-288-4268.