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After Two Dark Years, Jon & Vinny’s Star-Making Fairfax Restaurant Animal Reopens

Plus, a bunch of new restaurant openings in Hollywood, on Beverly, and beyond

A cheesy burger between two slices of toast with a knife down the middle.
A big burger from Animal on Fairfax.
Crystal Coser
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.

Animal, the seminal Fairfax restaurant that launched the careers of chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, is reopening on Wednesday, May 11. It’s been more than two years since the genre-bending dinner destination, known for its big flavors and boundary-pushing menu, last served a meal inside and now (save for a mock service last Saturday night) diners this week will be the first to return to action.

A ton has happened to that street, this city, and the world since March 2020 when the restaurant first went dark, from public protests over police brutality that saw armed riot officers just steps away from Animal to Jon & Vinny’s deal to lead the culinary offerings at LA’s glitzy SoFi Stadium. It’s a welcome return for one of Southern California’s most well-known restaurants and a sign of just how far the restaurant industry has come over the past two-plus pandemic years. Hours this week are Wednesday to Saturday, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and with an extension to Tuesday nights starting next week.

Drinking for a cause

Napa-based aperitif brand Mommenpop is working with some of the best bars around Los Angeles on a new cocktail drop, with a portion of proceeds going to help No Us Without You, the non-profit that helps to feed undocumented hospitality workers and their families. The drinks are available from May 9 to May 15 at Bolita, Here’s Looking at You, Gracias Madre, and Birdie G’s.

A bunch of new openings around town

Gelato and Angels, the Manhattan Beach dessert shop that has taken over for Milk at 7290 Beverly Boulevard, is opening to the public on Friday, May 13. Expect a day of deals, treats, and fun.

In Downtown LA, the popular Music Center has a new onsite catering and events arm for in-person events of various scales. The 22-acre property has long been a backdrop for big nights out, and the new Hope & Grand Events is pushing further with a summer of garden weddings, public events, and more. As with other spaces at the property, food will be handled by Levy.

In Hollywood, San Diego’s Grater Grilled Cheese has expanded to a small storefront at 5553 Sunset Boulevard, serving upscale grilled cheese sandwiches and melts with add-ons like butter-fried lobster, carne asada, pastrami, and more. The shop also has locations in Irvine and Huntington Beach. And in Orange County, a new Australian-Mediterranean roasted chicken shop has come online at 1120 Irvine Avenue in Newport Beach. The Chicken Shop focuses on charcoal-roasted chicken plates, wraps, bowls, salads, and sides.

Meanwhile, the Clark Street Bread team is reopening the small bar above Clark St. Diner in Hollywood (formerly Minibar) as Lily’s Bar today. Take a peek at the small hangout’s refreshed interior below.