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The Risk and Reward of Changing the Restaurant Service Model

Plus kosher Italian in Beverly Hills, and a dive bar resurrection in East Hollywood

Peer Into Scratch Bar's Newest Encino Digs
Scratch Bar in Encino
Wonho Frank Lee

Inside Scratch Bar’s business model

With more and more restaurateurs and chefs looking to tweak the traditional sit-down restaurant business model to make for better margins amidst rising overhead costs, it’s even more important to look around at the places that have been leading the charge and see how they’ve been faring. To that end, OpenTable checks back in with Phillip Frankland Lee at Scratch Bar in Encino to get a feeling for how his no-server dinner style is doing.

In short: They seem to be doing well, but still have some of the issues you might expect. Sous chefs double as bussers and servers, so as Lee explains: “At any given second you may have one steak on the grill, another steak that your plating, and you’ve got to run this steak to table five.” In all though, the Scratch Bar team seems happy with the versatility they get out of the do-it-all mentality the place promotes.

Speaking of Scratch Bar

It’s another flip for the former Scratch Bar space in Beverly Hills, which suffered through a series of new concepts (including a non-Phillip Frankland Lee return of the Scratch Bar name) under the building’s owner. Now there’s Mazal’rella, a kosher Italian operation from Parisian. Karen Attias. The opening menu for the lunch and dinner spot is below.

All hail Wolfgang

Life & Thyme offers an inside look at Wolfgang Puck, the man, the chef, the celebrity. From talking about the benefits of always changing it up to struggling to first find a job, it’s an intimate portrayal of a man many only see on television and food labels.

Even more soft serve ice cream

There’s a quiet new addition to the soft serve wars, this time called Little Damage. The new (and highly Instagrammable) shop soft-opened on Monday doing flavors like black charcoal, and holding down the corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core.

Lots to love at Lukshon

There’s a new tasting menu option at Culver City stalwart Lukshon. The option began on Tuesday night, and runs five to seven courses through dishes (so far) like uni toast, XO crab rice, and more. This is dining room seating only, no bar or communal tables, and runs $85 a head at the outset.

Dive bar no more

There’s an opening date for Girl at the White Horse, the redone former East Hollywood dive bar now run by the same team as Tenants of the Trees. Owner Reza Fahim says February 27 will be the unveiling date for the colorful new concept.

Sushi burritos take over

Another Historic Core entrant is Goshen Restaurant, a sushi burrito and bowl option (sort of a presumed cross between sushi and poke, really) landing inside the Van Nuys Building soon. Signage is already up, and an opening could be any day now at 212 W. 7th St.

Opening soon !!! #goshencuisine #downtownla

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