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The Arts District's Next Big Restaurant Will Actually Keep Live Farm Animals

Wes Whitsell's Manuela will house chickens, rabbits, and a fermentation lab

Signage going up for Manuela in the Arts District
Signage going up for Manuela in the Arts District
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Things are progressing along nicely for Manuela in the Arts District, it seems, as opening chef and co-owner Wes Whitsell tells LA Weekly that the new Downtown dining option could be ready to serve by early September. He also let slip that the place is going to have actual chickens.

In a piece about Whitsell's time growing up in a rural environment and his larger culinary influences, LA Weekly also managed to get a few juicy details out about the upcoming restaurant housed inside the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery on East Third Street. For starters, the kitchen is going to be gigantic — big enough for all the usual commercial accoutrement, plus a full smoker, a separate curing room for meats, and a designated "fermentation lab" for making vinegars and the like.

There's also going to be a full-on garden, not just a few potted rosemary plants. Instead, expect an outdoor space that's to be filled with rows of vegetables and fruits, and will also house some egg-laying chickens and a few rabbits, apparently. For what it's worth, the rabbits are purely an aesthetic choice, Whitsell says.

The dining space will flow indoors and out, with a patio that looks into the main dining area, though at the moment the place is still mostly boarded up against prying eyes. The company is being careful not to give too much away surrounding the look of the place, but you can catch a sneak peek at some of the outdoor space (and the surrounding artwork) to come over on the restaurant's Instagram page. The above hand-drawn design comes from Matt Winter, who also designed Gjusta, and shows off a look into the restaurant from the patio.

Reps for the former Osteria La Buca chef say that he hasn't locked in a menu for Manuela just yet, but the restaurant is indeed beginning to race towards the finish line. Tag late August or early September as the most likely opening dates, with plans for lunch during gallery hours only to start. Eventually, dinner and even breakfast (they've got all those eggs, remember) will fire up inside the compound as well.

909 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA