Bill Chait really likes the Arts District.
The restaurateur whose, perhaps, best-known Downtown Los Angeles project is the ever-bustling Bestia, is planning two more establishments in the booming neighborhood.
Chait, who lives in the Biscuit Company Lofts, said that Bestia chef Ori Menashe’s long-discussed Middle Eastern eatery will open in a portion of a12,682-square-foot, one-story brick building adjacent to the Fourth Street Bridge. Plans call for 210 seats inside and 214 outside, with a 4,818-square-foot patio.
It will actually be part of a larger Chait project. The building at 500 S. Mateo St. will also house Verve Coffee Roasters, which will offer a variety of java and juice drinks, as well as a small roaster. Additionally, there will be an ice cream shop and a bakery from husband-and-wife pastry chefs Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos, as well as a market with freshly prepared foods and staple items. Beer and wine will be sold at the restaurant and the market, and customers will be able to eat and drink on the patio.
“What we’re trying to do is to build something that provides important services, as well as be a place where people can come and relax, bring the dog, eat dinner, and move freely throughout the building,” Chait said.
The project does not yet have a name. Chait anticipates an opening in late fall.
The building, with its loading docks-turned-patio space, will not have walls between the businesses. Instead, it will be a single open room where people can walk between the various entities.
The project is on the eastern side of the Molino Street Lofts. On the western side of the adaptive reuse housing complex will be Chait’s second restaurant, at 515 Molino St. Helmed by Republique chef Walter Manzke, it will feature a 6,500-square space with a 900-square-foot uncovered patio. No timeline has been revealed.
It will add to Manzke’s workload in the Arts District. Manzke, the onetime chef at Church and State, is also planning an outpost of his Petty Cash in the former Fifty Seven space at 712 S. Santa Fe Ave.Chait is also involved in that venture.
Chait discussed the plans for his projects on March 18, when he spoke at a meeting hosted by the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council and the Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association. One of the big issues among attendees was parking, which is growing ever more scarce in the Arts District.
“It is very important that we provide off-site parking,” Chait said. “Walter is a very famous chef. We’re expecting people to be coming from all over.”
Chait said that 15 spaces for Manzke’s restaurant will be in a garage just north of the building, and Dilip Bhavnani, principal of Legendary Developments, is allowing Chait to use the parking lot at his building on nearby Fourth Street and the under-construction 950 E. Third St. apartment complex.
As for the Mateo building, Chait is in talks with the owners of Lucky Brand to utilize its parking lot on Santa Fe Avenue.
The project would add to the boom in the Arts District. In a three-block radius from both Chait restaurants is the under-construction retail center At Mateo, the retail and creative office development Fourth & Traction, the recently opened 438-apartment complex One Santa Fe, and Legendary Developments’ 472 apartments on Third Street.