“We met at a Valentine’s Day party, and Jesse was the one hoarding the ‘good Champagne,’
so our very first conversation was around our shared love of great food and drink,” says Hayley Feldman. “We ideated countless hours over how we could strike out on our own and run a small cafe.” Fast-forward six years and Hayley, along with her now-husband, Jesse Feldman, traded their respective careers in marketing and investment banking in New York to realize their dream with Chez Tex, a cozy, 36-seat bistro in Venice. Tapping into their shared backgrounds in hospitality (both spent their formative years working in bars and restaurants; Jesse’s family also owns Barndiva in Sonoma County), the couple spent three years bringing the concept to life, landing on the raw space that once housed Obsolete Gallery. “We live around the corner and always joke that Main Street really should be what Abbot Kinney is—it has a better location flanking the beach, a great retail presence and a lot of foot traffic, yet the food and drink options are lackluster compared to its cousin to the south,” says Jesse, whose oenophile father, David Feldman, also resides locally, and consulted on the “unpretentious” Old World-leaning wine list. Chef Ashkan “Ash” Ghassemzadeh, who fine-tuned his craft most recently at Walter Manzke’s République as sous-chef, turns out simple, well-executed fare on a rotating lunch and dinner menu that Jesse refers to as “Paris meets Venice Beach”: Think wild mushrooms with olive oil and egg yolk, and Devil’s Gulch Ranch rabbit terrine served with fermented vegetables. Says Hayley, “It’s like getting to throw a fabulous dinner party every single night.” 218 Main St., Venice, 310-314-1314; cheztex.com.
Edited by Lesley McKenzie.