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Arts District’s Heralded Firehouse Restaurant Resets the Game Plan After Nine Months

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Ownership says a change-up, reopening, and big new chef are in the works

A historic firehouse building that has been converted to a boutique hotel, as seen from the outside.
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

Arts District boutique hotel and restaurant the Firehouse is set to go dark this month after just nine months in business. The restaurant, run by acclaimed former NoMad and Eleven Madison Park chef Ashley Abodeely, will have its final night of service this coming Saturday, January 18. The hotel will remain open through January 28.

Owner Dustin Lancaster confirmed the upcoming closures to Eater over the weekend, while noting that there are still plans for the historic multi-million dollar property moving forward. The Firehouse will go dark for six to eight weeks (except for already planned events) as part of an overall rebranding effort, including cosmetic changes. The restaurant will reopen thereafter with a new chef, food and bar menus, and overall direction. Lancaster declined to name the chef that will be taking over, except to note that they are a well-known local name with ambitions to turn the restaurant into a dining destination.

The hotel will also return to life as a jewel-toned boutique overnight stay option for the booming Arts District, which is particularly appealing for folks associated with Warner Music, headquartered across the street. Lancaster’s Eastside Establishment group also operates Hotel Covell in Los Feliz, as well as popular places like L&E Oyster Bar, Hermosillo, and the upcoming Sogo Hand Roll Bar.

More broadly, many operators continue to find that the Arts District can be a challenging place to make a restaurant work, despite a few notable exceptions in names like Bestia, Bavel, Guerrilla Tacos, and Nightshade. Church & State closed, reopened, and then closed again not far away in 2019, while the multi-million dollar, 40,000 square foot Tartine and Chris Bianco collaboration cornerstone at the Row closed in December after one year.

A slew of other closures have hit greater Los Angeles in the recent past as well, from big names (Simone, Hearth & Hound, Fiona) to longtime standards like Ago, A-Frame, and Highland Park’s Maximiliano. The city continues to add promising new restaurants at an equally remarkable clip, but market saturation and increased overhead costs are making for a tumultuous time in the hospitality industry.


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