Big things are happening in the West Hollywood dining scene these days. New players like the patio-focused Soulmate on Robertson and Wolfgang Puck’s Sunset Strip restaurant Merois have come online just in the past couple of months, as the city begins to realize a post-pandemic future. Meanwhile, older staples like E.P. & L.P. have focused on facelifts and new menu directions ahead of what should be a vital summer dining season. Now comes news that there are sweeping changes coming to the La Peer Hotel as well, with some of LA’s most tenured operators stepping in to take control.
Marissa and Matt Hermer of Boujis Group (The Draycott, Olivetta) have stepped in to oversee on-site dining at La Peer, after spending a summer running a jaunty rooftop and pool party concept there already. Now, they’re fully formalizing the deal moving forward, taking over the closed ground floor Viale dei Romani space (once helmed by chef Casey Lane) and installing a coastal pan-Mediterranean menu across the entire property. The whole thing, from the indoor dining to the poolside tables and more private rooftop lounge area, will be called Issima, a take on the term ‘bellissima,’ meaning beautiful.
As with Olivetta, which reopens its celebrity-friendly doors in days, chef Michael Fiorelli will helm the entire project, jetting across Melrose (and up to the Palisades) to run the group’s entire kitchen operations — no small feat given the growing nature of the group. The Issima menu will allow Fiorelli to continue to work his Italian roots and his wood-fired cooking background, turning out everything from jamon starters and lots of seafood towers to steaks cooked over mesquite wood. Expect lots of wine and cocktails from beverage director Mel Meza, and flashy and colorful design work from Tom Parker of Fettle, in collaboration with the Hermers.
The new Issima is in some ways a continuation of the existing rooftop experience that has been running for months at La Peer, but now trickled down and consolidated across the spaces at the hotel with fewer (soon, none) COVID-19 restrictions in place. That means that while the designs will change (both at the menu and interiors level) this is not a from-the-studs switch, so expect a formal arrival for Issima in just weeks, along with hours from 5 p.m. to late night daily. Let the DJs and cocktails commence.