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Sqirl’s Jessica Koslow Expands to West LA With One Seriously Ambitious Project

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The unnamed restaurant is going to be a big new player off Sawtelle

Jessica Koslow
Dylan + Jeni
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.

Sqirl owner Jessica Koslow, one of the most famous names in Los Angeles cooking right now, is growing her sunny California empire with plans for an 8,000 square foot all-day dining compound right off the Expo Line in West LA. The unnamed restaurant won’t arrive until next year, but it’s going to be making some lofty promises between now and then.

The massive warehouse project is set to be Koslow’s sophomore effort, and should hypothetically come to life before her takeaway space Sqirl Away on Virgil, which has been in the works for some time. To say Koslow has been busy is quite the understatement, especially when you consider her cookbook deal, the first volume of which just started hitting circulation.

But with the spot near Sawtelle, there is the sense that Koslow wants to branch out from the jams, toasts, and rice bowls that have made her famous. This all-day restaurant will be a fuller Koslow experience, from A.M. grab-and-go options like coffee and bagels made in a wood-fired oven to simple counter-service lunch that includes shawarma and other specialties. If you’ve noticed a heartier turn to the Sqirl lunch menu of late, it’s now no secret why. The move is also very much on-point for the growing national conversations around all-day spaces with a takeout component, menus with a Middle Eastern touch, and lots of wood-fired deliciousness.

Dinner service will actually include a separate entrance to a 125-seat open dining room, complete with private dining space, bar seating (there will be a full booze license), communal tables, booths, and open two- and four-tops. Unique to the build-out will also be an attached 1,000 square foot event space that can be used separately for larger parties, while relying on the same kitchen as the restaurant.

Sqirl's longstanding creative director Scott Barry is taking lead with the design and influences of the place — which includes lots of clean lines, bright spaces, and splashes of color — while Linda Taalman and Jesse Gillan from Taalman Architecture handle the material work.

Koslow calls the cooking at her upcoming restaurant a representation of the greater Jewish diaspora, from the Middle East through Eastern Europe and into the delis and diners of America — but all with a California backbone and sensibility.

Koslow's cooking is a representation of the greater Jewish diaspora

To that end the restaurant will rely strongly on a personal farm in Malibu, at the site of a former cactus growing operation that has been transformed into a home for drought-tolerant produce. The hope is that by working with farmers on the issues that affect them most, especially water, Koslow can change her own cooking tendencies and bring lesser-loved products to market through her eclectic menu.

As one might imagine, all that scaling takes lots of time. Don’t expect the no-name restaurant to come to life any time before April 2017, with takeaway service to start followed by the sit-down dinner option. Sqirl Away, the long-awaited takeaway option next door to the iconic Sqirl on Virgil, should open by mid-summer next year as well.

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Los Angeles, CA


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