There’s a light rattle and then the swish of fabric, the first hints that a cart is wheeling past the table at Fanny’s, the new anchor restaurant inside the Miracle Mile’s glamorous Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The property, next door to LACMA and across the street from the Petersen Automotive Museum, is a nearly-$500 million ode to LA’s own celluloid history, a sweeping home for cinematic ephemera and nostalgia. It makes sense, then, that restaurateur Bill Chait, partner Carl Schuster, and chef Raphael Francois would want to build a dining room with the same bend towards Hollywood’s golden age. Here the suits are pressed and the booths are velvety, and the steaks arrive like cablecars.
Because of the larger museum’s all-day hours, it was imperative that Fanny’s open last fall to serve daytime customers with sandwiches, salads, and upscale takeaway fare. The more casual sunlight model has worked, but failed to offer the full evening service experience envisioned by Chait, Schuster, or the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, longtime museum benefactors who helped bring Fanny’s to the fore. Only recently has the 10,000 square foot, two-story space felt alive with purpose, diners bathed in the kind of low golden light that makes everyone feel like a movie star. Schuster, who spent years in the Wolfgang Puck catering empire, has pushed to make service the focus of the dinnertime show, and so far it appears to be working. “Bringing a restaurant like Fanny’s to life is a vast and layered undertaking,” says Schuster. “We are ensuring we execute at the highest level every step of the way.”
During service diners will find suited captains rolling through the tall, dim room, edging up to wide tables for cheese service, or to slice off a just-seared steak. All manner of preparations happen by cart, from freshly-prepared salads to saucy finishes; the prime rib cutting is a show unto itself. It’s classic LA stuff, pulled from the past at places like the Brown Derby and Lawry’s, but molded to fit a modern (if slightly older) clientele. The 32-ounce tomahawk runs a cool $140 on the bill, while Julian Cox cocktails hover north of $18 a pop — gilded prices to match the shimmering room, conceptualized by architect Osvaldo Maiozzi and designed by Commune Design. Arrive on the right night and one might even find a DJ playing mellow tunes, tucked away in a corner.
Still, for a certain type of Angeleno (especially anyone with a thirst for Hollywood history and dramatics), it’s hard to pass up the chance to dine at the restaurant named for Fanny Brice. It’s welcoming, too, to see a return to captains and suits and service carts and tableside preparations. LA as a dining town is many things, even fancy at times, and leaving room for all types of experiences is part of what makes the city pulse with vitality. After nearly two years of a global pandemic, with shutdowns and service hiccups and worker shortages and supply chain problems — all detrimental, each lingering still — hearing the light rattle and fabric whoosh as a cart rolls by feels particularly cinematic. At Fanny’s, that’s the point.
Fanny’s is now open for dinner service as well as daytime food at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, keeping evening full-service hours Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The opening menu is here.