Huge news for fans of globetrotting international baker Dominique Ansel (who you may know as the man behind the Cronut®): Eater has learned exclusively that Ansel and his team will be taking over the long-running Morel’s French Steakhouse restaurant inside The Grove, right by the main elevators and across from the fountains. The jump into such a prominent space is sure to drastically change the way locals and tourists dine out at what is already one of the most heavily-trafficked destinations in Los Angeles.
Reached by phone, Ansel says the decision to jump into The Grove stems in part from a pop-up he put on a while ago there, and how impressed he was with the Caruso Affiliated company behind the property. “We did a pop-up a few years back at the Grove to raise money for charity, and the lines were crazy, we had over 750 people, and it was raining,” says Ansel, “The team at the Grove was just amazing with their hospitality. They did an amazing job taking care of the guests with umbrellas, a DJ. I was really impressed.”
So now the luminary baker behind shops in New York City, Tokyo, and London will be landing a bakery and full-service restaurant at one of Los Angeles’s most well-known destinations. Ansel will be not only overseeing the day to day bakery operations, but also moving into the kitchen to work on the savory side. “It’s nice, coming from New York where everything is tiny,” says Ansel. “It’s a pretty big space, but we will use it.”
“We’re going to have a bakery on the first floor, and on the second floor we are launching a restaurant. It’s very exciting for me, because I was actually trained as a chef in the beginning of my career. I really love cooking, and I am excited to get a chance to show a bit of what I can do.”
Ansel tells Eater that the team is tracking for a fall debut, but with a full build-out needed and lots of other issues to undertake, that remains a moving target. In the meantime Ansel and the team are keeping quite busy, with their recent Tokyo unveiling and Ansel getting named the World’s Best Pastry Chef from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
When the place does get up and running, expect a big, big opening day, and long lines on weekends. Ansel has actually become quite adept at dealing with the crowds that follow him around the globe, and says he plans on doing more with this Los Angeles location than simply recreating the Cronut® pastry craze. “Our guests expect for us to keep on being creative and come up with new ideas. It’s the DNA of what we do, and so it’s important not to disappoint.”
Expect Dominique Ansel’s bakery and as-yet-unnamed sit-down restaurant to arrive later this year, with more details on the process (and the finished result) as they come.