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Here’s What Dominique Ansel’s First LA Restaurant Looks Like So Far

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The famous chef’s 189 eatery is getting close

The in-progress 189 by Dominique Ansel
Matthew Kang
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.

It’s time to check in on all things 189 by Dominique Ansel, the new restaurant and bakery from the famed New York City Cronut® creator. When the pastry chef first announced the project back in February (though the location was a secret until months later), he said it was meant to be something of a West Coast flagship. That means the restaurant will focus as much on the savory side as it does the sweet. So how’s progress coming along?

As the above image shows, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done on the two-level space. The restaurant actually takes over for the former Morel’s French Steakhouse at The Grove, which is one of the most heavily-touristed destinations anywhere on the West Coast. More than 18 million travelers and locals pass through annually (that’s more than Disneyland), and millions have already gotten to spy the colorful 189 wrapping that abuts the busy fountain feature in the center of the plaza.

Right now the property is still mostly cement floors and toolboxes, with metal work and wood work ongoing. There’s loads of glass to still set in place too, to say nothing of finished electrical and basic decor touches. That all adds up to months more of work, though reps for Ansel say that an opening before the end of the year is still the target.

That’s good news for sweet-tooth fans, as Ansel will continue to operate a downstairs bakery for customers to queue up for pastries, grab a coffee, and move on. Upstairs is where the true 189 restaurant will be, with Ansel cooking a full slate of savory dishes for the first time in years. He is said to be expected to actually spend quite a bit of time actually cooking too, not just showing up to oversee the property in chef’s whites.

So far the anticipated timeline puts 189 by Dominique Ansel on target for a late November debut, but that’s subject to change of course. Regardless it’s shaping up to be a big fall for the city of LA, with out of towners from all over the country (Broken Shaker out of Miami, April Bloomfield from New York, etc.) lining up to reveal their first Los Angeles restaurant projects.