It’s been a strange year for Chris Feldmeier, the usually happy-go-lucky chef who hails from the Campanile and Osteria Mozza worlds. The last of his dual Moruno empires, the one at Grand Central Market, closed down quietly in February, and has since given way to Margarita Manzke’s Filipino-leaning Sari Sari Store.
From there Feldmeier jumped to some work in Boston, and was set to run a high-profile opening back in Los Angeles slated for later this year — until a call out of the blue with longtime friend John Atkinson led to a completely different kind of project in Mar Vista.
Feldmeier is now a partner in and the chef at Louie’s of Mar Vista, a bar-that-serves-food kind of spot right off Venice Boulevard. Louie’s is an unassuming joint that has helped to anchor the neighborhood for half a decade, well before The Mar Vista, Little Fatty, or Brooke Williamson’s new ice cream shop around the corner. There are TVs, a long, curved bar, and menus attached to small clipboards that servers drop off in front of diners.
And then there’s Feldmeier, emerging from the back like he used to at Mozza: head down, smile up. The menu at Louie’s — formerly a place for big sides of brussels sprouts and togarashi bacon fries — now slips and moves like a new chef in an old kitchen, with weaves to simpler bar far like a classic roadside burger, or a fried chicken sandwich. This week, Feldmeier and his small kitchen crew are working on adding a few salads to the menu, to go along with the tight collection of toasts, premade bar snacks like chips with french onion dip, and Spanish conservas. There’s still a little bit of Moruno left after all.
Feldmeier says he’s happy to be at Louie’s, with its big front windows and tall ceilings. There are plans to reformat the back patio, add some seating up front, and tweak the decor, but at its most basic the room is supposed to be a bar filled with craft beer, good wine, cocktails, and options for easygoing TV viewing. Get some snacks and stay a while with friends.
Wine whiz David Rosoff picked out the sub-$15 by-the-glass selections, Kevan Kuwahara of Bar Clacson is behind the cocktails, and Boston’s own Crystal St Jacques handled the beer list, but Feldmeier will be the first to say that it’s okay if nobody but him and the staff knows that. Most people just want a place to eat, and he just wants a place to cook. He’s found it at Louie’s.
Louie’s of Mar Vista
3817 Grandview Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA