It’s been a busy year for Jeremy Fox. The Westside chef has been traveling, doing charity dinners, and of course selling a cookbook, but he also continues to oversee several (though not all) of the restaurants under the Rustic Canyon family umbrella. That means his job, in part, is to drop in nightly at each address not only to cook but to ask questions, taste, and generally point people in the right direction. That might mean a new seasonal dish here or a heartfelt acknowledgement of early kitchen struggles there, but there’s always been one goal on his mind: Make every place, and every person, better.
Now the quiet, sometimes dry Fox is turning that attention to himself, something he has publicly struggled with over the years. His next project, Birdie G’s, is starting to get into heavy construction in the Bergamot Station area of Santa Monica, and soon the time will come to move beyond the ephemeral world of planning and equipment placement, and into a very real timeline. Fox says that the plan right now is to land Birdie G’s sometime in the spring of next year. Just don’t ask him to nail down a perfect name for his style of cooking at the new place just yet
Whereas a restaurant like Tallula’s or Cassia has a sandbox perspective to play inside, Fox’s upcoming menu won’t really offer quite the same walls. It’s California cuisine, to be sure, inspired by the markets and all that, but there’s also a homeyness, a Midwestern sensibility and classic pan-American perspective to what he has planned. Again, it’s on Fox to define himself, and that will take time.
Meanwhile, the build-out of Birdie G’s continues apace. The 120-seat restaurant will offer the kind of warehouse appeal that has become de rigueur around Los Angeles, and is so easily found in the industrial area Fox has holed himself up in along Michigan Avenue. There will be a chef’s counter, room for private dining, a bar and lounge area, and outdoor seating to boot. There’s going to be an open kitchen, naturally, balanced somewhere between the live fire and camaraderie of Bestia and the technical stoicism of Simone.
Fox doesn’t have all the finished details in his head yet but he’s been working over the menu in his mind forever as it weaves from whole roast chicken to crab cakes and beyond. The timeline is still coming together in large chunks, too. That leaves moments to dig into the history of the industrial neighborhood, which dates to the Independence Railroad days of the late 1870’s. And if there’s one thing Jeremy Fox is good at already, it’s sitting back, taking it all in, and letting other people and places do the talking. As for Birdie G’s, he’ll speak confidently when he’s ready, and definitely not a moment before.
Birdie G’s. 2421 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA.