With the holidays (somehow) right around the corner, Los Angeles is prepping for yet another glitzy gift from the expansive Tao Group, one of America’s most prominent restaurant and nightlife consortiums. The Tao team is hard at work transforming the former Roku space on the Sunset Strip into a lavish and lush Italian destination known as Lavo Ristorante, with plans to pull in the moneyed crowds from West Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, and nearby Beverly Hills. Given the look of Lavo’s new renderings, it’s almost certain to work.
Unlike some of Tao’s other ventures — think the Highlight Room, Beauty & Essex, and more, just in Hollywood alone — the incoming Lavo will go light on the lounge tropes (no DJ in the corner, for one) in favor of a more fully-realized restaurant experience. The group also has Lavo locations in New York City and Las Vegas, serving a Southern Italy meets California menu that includes housemade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and bits of flourish like luxury ingredient add-ons and a famed one-pound wagyu meatball. There will be raw bar items, grilled meats, and plenty of cocktails and wine too, all served under the direction of partner Ralph Scamardella. When all is said and done, look for Lavo to compete with both the dinnertime hangouts of the Sunset Strip and the more modern Italian destinations spread across Los Angeles, from Jon & Vinny’s to the brand new Etta in Culver City.
One advantage in the upcoming hospitality competition will be Lavo’s space, which can hold more than 250 diners at once across booths and velvet banquettes, two- and four-top tables, and bar seats. What’s more, a large portion of the leafy dining area that corners out onto Sunset Boulevard will actually feature a retractable roof (which was installed but lesser-used by the Roku crew) that will allow for open-air evening dining. As for timing for the big new restaurant: Lavo won’t arrive at 9201 Sunset Boulevard until sometime in early 2022, so Tao fans will have to console themselves with these renderings in the meantime.