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Gesso to Close After a Little More than a Year on Fairfax

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The Pitfire restaurant’s halo Cali-Italian restaurant opened last August

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Gesso, Fairfax
Wonho Frank Lee

The increasingly competitive restaurant market will take down another recent entrant, this time Gesso on Fairfax just north of Melrose Avenue. Marked as the more full service and elevated California Italian restaurant from American Gonzo restaurant group, which also owns Pitfire Pizza and Superba Food + Bread, Gesso debuted back in August 2017 to mild local reception and mostly solid food reviews.

Earlier this year it also brought on former Esters chef Chris Ono, who revamped the menu but kept on many of the classics, like pizza and pasta. The all-day restaurant will close by Friday, November 23 after Thanksgiving, leaving a gaping hole on this northern stretch of Fairfax.

The place opened with relative unknown Doug Miriello as the chef, who used to cook at Gjusta in Venice before coming over to Mid-City. Later, Ono came on board to help jazz up the bill of fare and bring goodwill after he developed a reputation cooking at Esters Wine Bar in Santa Monica. It wasn’t enough to encourage locals to go the anchor restaurant at the relatively busy building where Cape Seafood and Coffee Commissary reside. Before Gesso, American Gonzo operated a large Pitfire Pizza before flipping it into something a bit less casual.

American Gonzo founder Paul Hibler had this to say about the closure: “Our Gonzo family is proud of what the Gesso team was able to deliver. We remain in love with this neighborhood, have made good friends and discovered stellar talent along the way.”

At the moment there’s no word on what will happen to the space, though American Gonzo still holds the lease. With a somewhat prime location (the lack of parking makes it a bit of a challenge for destination concepts) and a relatively open layout, it should attract some ambitious restaurateurs looking to expand in LA. In the meantime, Hibler’s restaurant group is currently working on a new steak-oriented restaurant called American Beauty in Venice.

Gesso. 801 N. Fairfax Avenue. Los Angeles, CA.

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