Beer connoisseur and restaurant owner Tony Yanow’s Echo Park venture, Mohawk Bend, started construction last year in the old Ramona Theater, and the restaurant is just about to open. Having remained vacant for about two decades, the 6,000 square foot, 1914 building has undergone quite a transformation – and we got a peak inside!
A couple of weeks ago, a very friendly Paige Reilly (whose email signature casually claims her role in the scheme of things as the “Beer Champion” for Tony’s Darts Away) took me on a tour Mohawk Bend and gave me a full run-down of what’s going on behind those theater doors:
A non-smoking outdoor patio is the first space you’ll notice (where you would, for instance, buy your movie tickets when it was a theater). It will be treated almost like a lounge area with cocktailers.
The Quad is just past the hostess station, where two- and four-tops plus booths (totaling 48 seats) will occupy the space. It’s a seat yourself deal, and while you can order at the bar there will be cocktailers as well.
There’s this really cool concrete community table with high-top seating as you move into further down into the pub/bar area (they had to build it right there, it’s so bulky). Along the right side is the row of bar stools facing a total of 72 taps for beer and six taps for wines. With a focus on California/local brews, wines, and even spirits, they’ll also be making their own juices and even sodas.
Along the left side are also high-top seats, this section facing an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action. There’s the “Cadillac of pizza ovens” along with multiple stations – since they will be offering a variety of vegan dishes, they’ve actually duplicated stations so that vegan meals are prepared separately from meat dishes. That means they have two of each: cold tops, fryers, griddles and pizza stations.
The menu isn’t entirely vegan because they are really driving home that they have an “inclusive” menu – so that there’s something for everyone.
At the end of the building, broken up by an enormous wall of glass panels, is the sort-of “formal” dining area. It’s here you can really get a sense the old theater space – the expansive walls of exposed brick give off the original flavor, and they plan to have ivy or some sort of greenery to help make it feel more like an outdoor space. They also installed quite a few beautiful skylights and scaffolding to help that outdoor feel.There’s also a massive fireplace centering the far wall.
Back to what’s really important, more about the booze:
- Of the 72 taps, 67 are California-only brews
- 35 are permanent handles and 32 will rotate
- Every month they will feature one out-of-state brewer, and will host a kick-off event with the brewer on hand
- Six taps are wine kegs, and will rotate like the beers
- The bar is fully stocked with 80 bottles spirits, and like the beer and wine will be local or California companies. Since tequila is from Mexico only, there will be California agave spirits (apparently bar manager Keith Taylor makes a mean margarita, and will be serving up other traditional and specialty cocktails)
Back when this whole project started, I was a little worried about big names like Spacecraft leading the design of the new restaurant, fearing it would turn into some over-exaggerated, Hollywood design that wouldn’t fit well with some of the more homey establishments in the community. But I’ve warmed up to Tony, the restaurant, and the concept as a whole (despite a few neighborhood objections when they moved in).
We are all anxiously awaiting the final touches to be made for the grand opening. Actually, the restaurant was supposed to open today, but as with any restaurant opening there are permit delays, final deliveries, and just some last minute details to be sorted. They now expect Mohawk Bend to open in early July, we’re crossing our fingers!
Eater LA reports the opening will be delayed even more to late July due to some problems with gas pipes or gas lines.