After opening Maude in Beverly Hills in 2014, and then Gwen in Hollywood a few years later, celebrity chef Curtis Stone is opening a third LA restaurant called Picnic Society at the Grove on September 14. The full service restaurant will have a covered outdoor patio, plus a grab-and-go market with charcuterie, salads, sandwiches, and picnic baskets.
Gwen, which has an in-house butcher shop and small deli counter to pick up sandwiches during lunch, was also an inspiration for Picnic Society, so named for outdoor gatherings in the early 19th century. “The world has changed in recent months, and so has the way that we enjoy food and come together....With good food and the right company, you can really make anywhere in the world your restaurant, and I look forward to elevating this experience [for LA],” says Stone.
More composed dishes for those that will sit on Picnic Society’s second floor outdoor dining area include steak frites, a lobster roll, and Nicoise salad, though the marketplace will have everything from the namesake food baskets, blankets, tables, and even cutlery. Assuming folks are willing to pick up all the picnic essentials, the best location to actually have a picnic would probably be the expansive Pan Pacific Park just outside of the Grove instead of the shopping mall itself, which doesn’t quite have the lawn that its sister mall the Americana at Brand features in Glendale.
Picnic Society goes into the former 189 by Dominique Ansel and Dominique Ansel Bakery space, which was highly anticipated and generally quite busy until the pandemic forced it to close in late March.
Caruso’s latest retail development in Pacific Palisades, Palisades Village, didn’t really try to create a restaurant mix that reflected the diverse flavors of Los Angeles, which spans much of Latin America and Asia in notable neighborhoods like East LA, Boyle Heights, Thai Town, Koreatown, and San Gabriel Valley. So while Stone’s opening at the Grove might be great for the Home Shopping Network crowd (Stone sells cookware on the channel), the addition might be a miss for those looking for a restaurant that gives tourists a taste of LA’s culinary culture. Not that there are that many tourists in LA at the moment anyway due to the pandemic.
This opening comes off the heels of Stone’s restaurant Georgie in Dallas last year, which took a lot of the same luxe steakhouse vibes as Gwen. Last October, Stone also announced that he would be opening a restaurant in Downtown LA, though it’s unclear what progress he’s made there in the past 11 months. After wishing for the return of the Michelin Guide, Stone got his wish in mid-2019 with a Michelin star awarded to Maude.