With significant fanfare, Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe opens Tuesday, October 1. Situated on the east end of West Hollywood, this opening represents a first in the hospitality industry. Lowell Cafe is America’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounge and restaurant where diners can eat a meal while consuming cannabis or eat cannabis-infused edibles on the premises.
Andrea Drummer is Lowell’s veteran cannabis chef, with seven years experience preparing cannabis-infused meals throughout Los Angeles. However, Lowell Farms is restricted by state California law to infuse any of its own food with cannabis.
In an awkward workaround, Lowell Cafe allows the consumption of edibles produced by an outside source, but is prohibited from serving any cannabis-infused food made on the premises. But Drummer created dishes that complement cannabis, similar to pairing wine with food. She prepares a saucy cauliflower banh mi, pulled pork and a crispy chicken sandwich, as well as a chicory salad with endive, guanciale, and Fiji apples. Vegan nachos come topped with cauliflower meat and cashew cheese, while other bites like jerk lamb chops, fries, and sticky tamarind wings are part of a fairly large snack menu. Prices for the dishes range from $9 to $23.
Lowell Cafe also cannot sell alcohol on the premises, so it will only serve juice, coffee, tea, Boylan’s soda, and milkshakes. Milkshake mix-ins include things like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, house made caramel corn, toffee, or candied pecans. Finally for dessert, diners can have scoops of McConnell’s ice cream, a Mexican chocolate sundae, and a Fruity Pebbles cheesecake.
And then there’s the actual cannabis. Lowell Cafe is also a dispensary that sells everything from vaporizer pens, cannabis oil, concentrated cannabis (also known as dabs), cannabis beverages, bongs, and Lowell Farms’ own pre-rolled joints. “Flower hosts” will deliver cannabis products just like they’re dropping off a bottle of wine, but instead of popping a cork will roll a joint right at the table. A $20 “toke-age” fee is for those who wish to bring their own cannabis.
Customers will receive two separate checks if ordering food and cannabis. Diners can use any payment method for food, but will have to pay cash for any cannabis purchases. Customers are not allowed to leave Lowell with cannabis purchased on-site.
Lowell Cafe’s owners insist that smoky air will not be a problem because they installed a robust air-filtration system, which is also required by law. The ventilation actually sucks air from the consumption areas and filters it through a charcoal scrubbing system before releasing it. The system uses vents, ducts, filters, fans, and motors similar to the systems used in casinos and chemical labs, according to co-owner Sean Black.
The former Loreley biergarten has been transformed with live non-cannabis plants, living walls, and Spanish tiles. Lowell’s outdoor and indoor cannabis consumption areas will open this week while a separate 1,600 square foot cannabis-free indoor cafe will open on a future date.
With a long list of celebrity investors, Lowell also brought in powerhouse brothers/partners Mark and Jonnie Houston of Houston Hospitality. The founders of Harvard & Stone, La Descarga, and Break Room 86 will lend their expertise and have nightlife plans for Lowell Cafe with live music, DJs, and performances.
It’s a bit of a miracle that Lowell Cafe is ready to open. A year ago, this business model was not feasible due to state and local laws. In 2020, seven more consumption lounges will land within West Hollywood’s city limits. The West Hollywood City Council approved edibles consumption lounge Budberry last week. As a note, Lowell Cafe only allows entry for those 21 and up. Hours are from noon until 10 p.m. daily.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe. 1201 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood, CA