While the Orange County restaurant scene has been coming on strong over the past few years, it’s still rare that a restaurant group from behind the Orange Curtain makes its way up to Los Angeles — let alone on such a splashy stretch as the Sunset Strip. Yet that’s precisely what the River Jetty Restaurant Group is doing, adding an upscale dinner option along one of LA’s most famous boulevards that’s sure to pull in the Hollywood Hills crowds.
The incoming A Sunset is just the next step for River Jetty, the two-man team comprised of Jordan Otterbein and longtime collaborator Joseph Nichol, the Charlie’s Angels director and producer better known as McG. The brand is an extension of the pair’s A Restaurant from Newport Beach, a historic property that dates to 1926 and has become a staple dinner destination near the water. The original has since spawned a growing network of other similar projects like CdM in Orange County’s upscale Corona Del Mar community. Each River Jetty restaurant is built to play the hits, moving from brussels sprouts starters, shareable meatballs, and salads to a bit of seafood, a bit of steak, and occasionally a pasta or two. Combined with design and service, it’s been a massively successful formula for the pair. So now they’re trying their hand in the much more dense Los Angeles restaurant scene, taking over the former Serafina / Fresh on Sunset space at 8768 Sunset Boulevard.
“I’ve had my office at that little curve of sunset for 22 years,” says McG by phone, speaking of the A Sunset location at Sunset and Holloway Drive, “so I’ve been staring at that property for more than two decades.” The surrounding area — once home to the original Spago, and still home to the first Night + Market as well as newcomers like Lavo Ristorante — has changed quite a bit over the decades, including the recent demolition of the famed Tower Records building, where a Supreme store will soon sit.
“We want to show sensitivity to the history of the Sunset Strip, but also be aware of where it’s going,” says McG. The plan, as with places like the reborn La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills, is to upscale the service and the food, making A Sunset a place to eat well (at a price) and to be seen, to have your table touched by an attentive maitre d or manager, and to experience the pleasures of finer dining without quite so much of the fuss.
Building that kind of destination will take time. McG says the restaurant’s opening is still a ways out, perhaps even into the first month or two of 2023. But that’s not to say the River Jetty team is laying low. A Crystal Cove, the group’s newest arrival, should be in place at the Crystal Cove Shopping Center along the Pacific Coast Highway by Memorial Day, with A PCH opening in the Long Beach area later this year as well.