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Lauded Southwest Chef John Sedlar Returns to LA With New Project on La Brea Avenue

Folks are still being tight-lipped about the new venture with operator Bill Chait and the owner of American Rag.

A StreetView look at a clothing store and attached cafe at daytime.
The cafe next to American Rag.
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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.

Chef John Sedlar is coming back to Los Angeles in a big way. The lauded, nationally known Sedlar (once called “the Father of Modern Southwest Cuisine” by Gourmet) has been cooking and living in his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico for the past half-decade or so, but rumors have swirled of an LA return for more than a year. Now, Eater has confirmed that Rivera will land a brand new project on La Brea, right next door to the American Rag clothing shop in the closed Cafe Midi space at 148 S. La Brea Avenue. What Now LA was the first to report the news.

Details on the upcoming project are still scarce; both Sedlar and partner Bill Chait, known for helping to launch restaurants like Bestia, Republique, and Tartine locally, have not responded to requests for comment, though Eater was able to confirm independently that the project is happening. Per What Now LA, the unnamed restaurant is targeting a May 2022 opening in partnership with Mark Werts, who owns American Rag. Werts told that publication only that the restaurant would become “Los Angeles’ best food-centric restaurant from top-level chefs,” indicating that Sedlar may not be the only name involved.

Sedlar is most recently known in Los Angeles for his last restaurant here, Rivera in Downtown. The restaurant opened in 2008 and ran for six years (in what eventually became the Broken Spanish space) as a pan-Latin ode to LA and New Mexico. Rivera was not only celebrated at the time (earning three-and-a-half stars in an S. Irene Virbila review for the LA Times), it also helped to launch the greater Downtown dining renaissance and the career of bartender Julian Cox, who made Rivera a cocktail destination all its own. Prior to Rivera, Sedlar helped to lead LA’s culinary charge with acclaimed spaces like Saint Estephe, Bikini, and Abiquiu. In 2015 Sedlar relocated to open Eloisa in Santa Fe, but stepped away from that restaurant in January 2020.

Got more news on this upcoming La Brea project? Feel free to hit the tip line.