On May 16th, coworking space and social club NeueHouse will debut its new twin-concept restaurant Reunion — a 5,300-square-foot space on the NeueHouse Hollywood’s outdoor terrace. The first location of Reunion, at NeueHouse Venice Beach, opened in March, serving plenty of seafood and pasta dishes along with bright, breezy cocktails, all set to a relaxed, coastal atmosphere.
With their first major restaurant project, the NeueHouse team aims to create a sort of third space for creatives in LA — a place without any large barrier to entry (financial or otherwise) where a diverse group of people can come together and interact. It’s an unusual proposition for a members-only club, but a sign of their evolving mission. Opening the restaurant space to the public was a no-brainer for Jon Goss, the chief brand and marketing officer of NeueHouse, who envisions Reunion as a regular gathering place for members and non-members alike.
To achieve their vision, the NeueHouse team has settled on coastal Italian as both an aesthetic and cuisine. “It’s a very communal style of eating, which just fits with the way creatives want to hang out and not sit down in a very stuffy, fine dining, white tablecloth-type environment,” says Goss. Robert Marchetti, who heads bar and restaurants globally for NeueHouse, says he imagined Reunion as “the never-ending summer holiday of our dreams.”
The dual locations of Reunion play into this goal of a relaxed, communal feel. “LA is so challenging for creatives to get from one side of town to the other,” Goss says. Now, with locations of Reunion both in Hollywood and Venice, along with NeueHouse Bradbury’s Wyman Bar in downtown, Goss says, “You get this east-west value proposition for the member base and you get some familiarity.”
For Reunion’s menu, Marchetti worked with culinary director Dominick Pepe to craft dishes with plenty of bright, seasonal vegetables (a pea, basil, and mint salad is already a hit at the Venice location), and fresh seafood taking the place of heavier meat and dairy plates. A crab agnolotti tossed in a Meyer lemon and tomato sauce is at once supple, delicious, and comforting while never feeling too oily or dense. It’s food meant to be shared, with larger portions and serving spoons, plus plenty of larger tables perfect for groups and meetings.
The levity of Reunion’s menu is mirrored in the design of both spaces. In Hollywood, DesignAgency employed a neutral color palette of beige, ocher, and earthen red mixed with natural materials like wood, wicker, and stone to create an atmosphere of escapism (if still a play on the trendy Tulum aesthetic) that’s comfortable to spend extended hours at. Sitting on the terrace, the bustle of Sunset Boulevard feels distant, with only a few high-rises and billboards at eye level reminding folks where they are. At night, the space feels even more cocooned with the warm glow of candles. Meanwhile, the Venice location has a similar palette of colors and textures that makes the outdoor terrace an inviting space to sit and smell the ocean air. Cocktails by Eric Alperin (the Varnish, Slipper Clutch) continue the coastal Italian theme across both locations with drinks like a citrusy, effervescent Milan Mandarin Spritz or several flavors of a slushy-style sgroppino. Sommelier Rosemary Walker has curated a wine list heavy on Italian varietals.
“The restaurant is almost an annex to the membership space,” Goss says, adding that non-member guests can access the Hollywood Reunion through a dedicated entrance on El Centro Avenue rather than through the house itself. (Venice Reunion, however, will only be accessible through the main house entrance.) “Reunion is definitely an entry point into our wider ecosystem,” he says, “and we welcome the opportunity to meet new potential members by opening our doors.”
Ultimately, as the very nature of how people work and interact socially has changed, NeueHouse has spent the last decade evolving its brand and amenities away from purely a co-working space towards a more holistic community space. Reunion is one more step in that direction — keeping members in the house by allowing them to bring in their social world to dine. It also allows the public a taste of NeueHouse’s community without giving away the farm.