What’s old is new again at La Fe, the recently opened cocktail and food hangout at 1525 Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. Longtime locals will know that address as the old Ostrich Farm, the California restaurant with a white exterior that lasted seven good years before closing during the pandemic. Now Ostrich Farm owners Brooke Fruchtman and Jaime Turrey are back with a new plan and an old name in the same space.
The new spot, Spanish for “the faith,” opened quietly during Echo Park Rising, focusing mostly on cocktails and snacks. While Ostrich Farm was decidedly a neighborhood restaurant, the new La Fe is thinking bar first, with a redesigned dining room that is much more conducive to lounging with a group. It still has its full kitchen and Turrey at the helm, so there are plans to let the menu ebb and flow over time. “Jaime is a chef, and if he feels inspired one night to do a great dry-aged bone-in ribeye, he wants the flexibility to do that but not feel obligated to have it there every night,” says Fruchtman by phone. “We want a certain softness and flexibility and freedom.”
That softness is intentional, Fruchtman tells Eater, and stems directly from the challenging restaurant environment of the past several years. Even before the pandemic, Turrey and Fruchtman had sold their restaurants at the Brite Spot space and Bar Calo across the street, and now they’re eager to run a quieter, simpler operation, while still bumping into plenty of familiar faces. “So many people are just walking by,” says Fruchtman. “It’s been a lot of old customers, and everyone is so excited.” Even the name is a kind of throwback, as a previous business named La Fe existed decades ago at that address. “For Jaime in particular, it's really important to stay connected to the neighborhood and its history,” says Fruchtman.
As for the specific direction of the menu and design, Fruchtman says there isn’t one. “We’re just sort of seeing what our customers want,” she says, noting that the drink and food menus are still coming together in real time, based on availability and interest as they scale up the operation. Consulting beverage director Sarah Boisjoli is on for the opening which, for now, has been a fun, mellow mix of inspirations. “La Fe isn’t tied to any one place,” says Fruchtman. “We have French on the bathroom doors, our food is European inspired. It’s not any one particular thing.”
Curious customers can find La Fe in the old Ostrich Farm space in the heart of Echo Park, keeping hours from Thursday through Sunday, 5 p.m. until late.