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Downtown LA Is Getting a Retro Diner With Modern Appeal This Summer

Plus, two Orange County updates, a new look at the old Viper Room, and more

A time-lapse image of a steel grey blocky building in a downtown space as car lights blur past.
The Delphi Hotel building.
Crestline Hotels and Resorts
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.

The Delphi boutique hotel in Downtown Los Angeles — formerly the site of the Standard — is prepping for its first big on-site restaurant this summer. Denae’s will open in July as an all-day spot with a modern diner aesthetic, meaning retro-inspired decor and lots of nostalgia. There will be staples like a burger, salads, and even a boozy bourbon zag on a classic root beer float, plus rethought versions of dishes like chicken and waffles. The plan is to stay decidedly mid-market with the food (both in price and conceptualization), as a way to offer something for everyone who passes through. It’s a stark contrast to many of the other Downtown LA hotel restaurants run by names like the Houston brothers and José Andrés. Expect Denae’s to open in July alongside the existing lounge and coffee and tea bar.

A fresh face in Downtown

Brad Willits of Market Venice begins his residency inside Abernethy’s at the Music Center in Downtown LA on May 13. Willits is just the latest name to come onboard for a limited run at the theater-adjacent restaurant, with chef Lenora Marouani stepping away on May 5. For the Willits run, expect Italian food with a few borrowed flavors from places like Portugal and Japan as well.

Orange County newcomers

There are two new Orange County restaurants to know about. The first is the Plot, a plant-based, zero-waste restaurant out of Oceanside that has expanded north to the Camp development in Costa Mesa. The restaurant will open later this summer, not far from Camp pizza superstar Folks.

Nearby at the Collage Culinary Experience at South Coast Plaza, the new Blossoms & Brass is doing Italian-Japanese food with a heavy focus on cocktails. The indoor-outdoor space is ideal for grabbing a quick drink in a design-forward space (it was built and is operated by Kenneth Ussenko of Kenneth Ussenko Designs), selling sips like an oolong Old Fashioned and capellini with fried shiso leaves or a saffron rice maki roll with lobster and jamón.

An update on the old Viper Room address

The redevelopment of the Viper Room address at 8850 Sunset Boulevard is coming along, with fresh renderings available here via Urbanize. The 11-story mixed-used space should house a hotel, residential units, restaurants, and retail when all is said and done, but don’t expect the property to be open to the public until at least 2026.

Brunch in a special space

Mírate launched a new brunch in Los Feliz over the weekend, offering rethought staples like chilaquiles, a breakfast burrito, eggs Benedict, and more. It’s all been given a specialty touch of modern Mexican flair from chef Josh Gil, so expect a mix of options between tacos, ceviches, big plates of eggs, and a full accompaniment of cocktails and dessert.