C California Style

Salt cod brandade at Sawyer. PHOTO: Kim Mahair.
Steps away is their other collaborative venture, KETTLE BLACK. PHOTO: ryan tanaka.
Carlos Anthony Lopez, Beau Laughlin and Brett Cranston inside SAWYER. PHOTO: harmoni everett.

Most Wanted

by C California Style

A row of new eating and drinking venues finds an instant fan base in Silver Lake.

“I think of Sawyer as the Beatles, and Kettle Black as the Stones,” says Beau Laughlin of the new Silver Lake restaurants he runs with business partners Brett Cranston and Jay Milliken. “Sawyer is light and fun, and pleases everybody. Kettle Black is a modern approach to a rustic aesthetic, with a rich and masculine design.” Though Paul and Ringo may take issue with the analogy, eager crowds have packed the houses since the doors opened this past summer.

The team landed on a two-concept approach for making over what was previously a single, cavernous 7,000-square-foot space on Sunset Boulevard, also home to Laughlin’s compact Clover Juice outpost (3707 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A.; cloverjuice.com), of which he is co-owner.

Sawyer’s (3709 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A., 323-641-3709; sawyerlosangeles.com) intricate tile patterns and quirky floral wallpaper conspire for a lighthearted backdrop against which to savor California seasonal cuisine, including a farmers-market chop salad studded with root vegetables, apples, feta and pepitas in a tomato vinaigrette. Its greenery-enveloped patio quickly became the place for brunch. Two doors down at Kettle Black (3705 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 323-641-3705; kettleblackla.com), chef Sydney Hunter III serves a hearty menu of housemade Italian specialties. Octopus, eggplant and cauliflower dishes are delicately charred in the wood-fired oven, while pizzas and pastas showcase top West Coast ingredients, as befits a chef whose résumé includes Bastide, Petit Trois and Superba Snack Bar.

Local designers were also tapped: See Buck Mason’s uniforms and Brendan Ravenhill’s lighting. Carlos Anthony Lopez, who helped make Dinette and the Ace Hotel rooftop buzzy destinations, added custom-built details, from the ceiling-height brass bar to marble-topped dining tables.

Opening previously enclosed facades to the sidewalk has been key to the site’s transformation, explains Laughlin. “We saw people walking around, and knew they’d want this type of place,” he says. “These are the kind of restaurants you can go to a few times a month.”

Crave-inducing food and endearing, yet sophisticated, design quirks galore? Sounds like the way to satisfy one of the country’s most creative neighborhoods.

Written by Jessica Ritz and Lesley McKenzie.