Two of LA’s biggest restaurant names are on the move, as Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis plan a brand new restaurant in the heart of East Hollywood. Menashe and Gergis are the husband and wife partnership team behind two of the city’s biggest hits in Bestia and Bavel, both in the Arts District, and now they’re going much more casual along Fountain, with plans to open by June.
The incoming restaurant, named Saffy’s after their daughter Saffron Menashe, has been quietly in the works for months now. While menu details are still being finalized, this will definitely fit into the broad Middle Eastern perspective — including Egyptian and Israeli flavors — that the pair know so well. What’s more, Saffy’s will operate as a more casual offering from the group (including director of operations and partner Leah Bunch), offering both daytime and dinner service. Both Bestia and Bavel are dinner-only destinations, so this will be the first time that Menashe and Gergis have teamed up to feed the lunch and afternoon crowds.
The incoming Saffy’s takes over the former Five Leaves space at the corner of Fountain and Catalina, across the street from the always-busy Found Oyster and legacy neighborhood brunch restaurant Square One. Despite a years-long build-out, the previous Brooklyn-based tenant lasted only a scant nine months before closing up shop in February 2020, just one month before the first round of restaurant closures and lockdowns as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The space at 4845 Fountain Avenue has been boarded up since then, though work has been ongoing inside over the past few months.
While Menashe and Gergis have been mostly quiet about the coming expansion, word has been trickling out in the neighborhood and beyond for some time. Over the weekend, the group even began an open employment call on its social media channels, teasing the name and general neighborhood, though without firm specifics. Now it looks like a late spring, early summer arrival is here, with much more news to share soon.
Bestia, Menashe’s first standalone restaurant after working at Angelini Osteria and elsewhere in LA for years, was an overnight hit for the Arts District. The now decade-old restaurant is still one of the hottest seats in town, as is Menashe and Gergis’ Middle Eastern follow-up Bavel, which opened in 2018. The restaurants have gone on to help shape the careers of countless other cooks and chefs in the city, including names like Avner Levi of Cento in West Adams.