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A New Tex-Mex Contender Brings Queso and Cocktails to West LA

Thunderbird takes over for the shuttered Bar Food on Wilshire

The former Bar Food on Wilshire
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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.

Some of Los Angeles’s most prominent bar owners are set to open a new spot in greater Brentwood/West LA by the end of the summer. The restaurant is called Thunderbird, and it takes over a familiar address along the Wilshire Boulevard corridor.

Thunderbird is the work of Brandon Bradford, John Bower, and others. If those names sound familiar, it’s because of the team’s work within The Goat Group, the Ryan Sweeney co-owned collection of bars like The Surly Goat, The Blind Donkey, and so on. Bower is also heavily involved with Lazer Kat, the trippy new pizza and cocktail bar that opened earlier this year on the Sunset Strip.

This time around, expect more than just cocktails and craft beer. Thunderbird will be a full-on Tex-Mex restaurant, offering classics from queso to tacos on down. They’ll also certainly serve citrusy margaritas, palomas, and the like. The menu is a far departure from the previous tenant at that address, Bar Food, which lasted for eight years on the strength of its whiskey collection and bar bites menu.

Reached for comment, Bower couldn’t say exactly when Thunderbird would open, but he is hopeful for something in August.

Thunderbird. 12217 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.