One of Los Angeles’s most expensive restaurants, Manzke, will close on March 1, 2024, along with its sister French bistro Bicyclette, which is located downstairs in the same building. The latest closures from chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke add to four total shutters in the past six months, leaving only their flagship restaurant République in Mid-Wilshire remaining in Los Angeles.
News of Bicyclette’s closure spread on Reddit over the weekend, though the original posting has since been deleted. Eater reached out to Walter Manzke for comment, and Sprout LA, the restaurant management and hospitality group that works with the Manzkes in various capacities, provided a statement that confirmed the March 1 closure date for both restaurants. “Bicyclette Bistro & Manzke Restaurant regrets to announce our last day of service will be on March 1, 2024. The decision, reached after careful consideration alongside our partners, Sprout LA, is due to financial losses,” reads the statement in part.
The Manzkes closed Petty Cash Taquería on Beverly Boulevard after 10 years in late October 2023, followed by the abrupt shutter of Sari Sari Store after seven years inside Grand Central Market in December 2023. The Manzkes did not explain either closure.
Bicyclette opened in West Los Angeles just south of Beverly Hills in June 2021, back when indoor dining had just made a tenuous return amid the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. The restaurant served a well-crafted French bistro menu that seemingly had a strong following from the neighborhood, landing a number 38 spot on the Los Angeles Times 101 Best Restaurants this year. The Times’ critic Bill Addison called it a “valentine to the timeless Parisian bistro” and wrote, “They may take American liberties with traditional dishes, but never in ways that would dishonor the soul of the cuisine.”
Manzke, the restaurant, opening followed in March 2022, bringing with it high aspirations, a $225 tasting menu, vintage spirits, and refined service that helped earn it a coveted Michelin star in December 2022. With just a few dozen tables, Manzke served a menu inspired by Los Angeles flavors, weaving in Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Mexican influences with premium ingredients like caviar, truffles, and uni.
Both spaces have had iconic occupants already, including Sotto and Test Kitchen downstairs to Picca, Ricardo Zarate’s Peruvian restaurant, upstairs. Before all of these restaurants, the building was a steakhouse called Spark Woodfire Grill. The closures of Manzke and Bicyclette, two restaurants that were struggling financially, raises questions about what kind of operators could be profitable in a location challenged with the fast-moving traffic of Pico Boulevard at almost all hours of the day and few options for parking. (Walter Manzke faced life-threatening injuries after being struck by a car in a 2020 accident that occurred while he was walking in front of the building.)
Now, with the Manzkes’ one-Michelin-star namesake tasting menu restaurant and Bicyclette closing at the same time, some questions remain about the status of the chefs’ partnership with Los Angeles hospitality heavyweight Sprout LA. Sprout LA is owned primarily by Michael Glick, founder and president of Vesta Foodservice, one of the largest specialty food distributors in the country.
Since its inception more than 10 years ago, Sprout LA developed a reputation for opening chef-driven restaurants with founder Bill Chait, who has since moved on from the company. It currently operates Vespertine, Meteora, Destroyer, Redbird, the Rose Venice, Tsubaki, Ototo, and Yangban. It had also been a part of Bestia, Otium, Broken Spanish, Moruno, and others, making it arguably the most influential force in the LA restaurant scene of the past decade. The group recently parted ways with Rose chef Jason Neroni and closed his restaurant Best Bet after just six months.
In addition to République, which has been open since 2013, the Manzkes are partnered with upwards of 10 locations of Wildflour (with a menu that has clear inspiration from République) in greater Manila, Philippines, six licensed Pink’s Hot Dogs outlets, and other restaurants.
The Manzkes ended their statement to Eater by thanking staff and customers:
Walter and Marge express their deepest gratitude to our cherished guests for their unwavering support throughout the years. Equally, heartfelt appreciation goes to our hardworking and dedicated staff, who have been the backbone of our success.
It is their commitment that has made Bicyclette Bistro & Manzke Restaurant a beloved part of the community. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has been a part of our journey, and we invite you to join us at République to continue the celebration of exceptional food and hospitality.