Echo Park’s restaurant scene has had a rocky ride during the pandemic, but it’s about to get a warm embrace from Bacetti, a secluded new neighborhood Italian trattoria tucked away on Echo Park Avenue.
Owner Jason Goldman, an art historian-turned-Italian culture and food obsessive, has been working on turning the vintage building into an Italian restaurant for more than five years. “We love being on Echo Park Avenue because it has such great character and a true pedestrian culture, despite some insanely hilly streets and numerous stairwells,” he says. “Even though we’re a stone’s throw from Sunset and between a few major freeways, there is a distinct neighborhood feeling here and we want to be part of that same fabric.”
Chef Joel Stovall, formerly of Orsa & Winston, is introducing a menu of Roman-accented antipasti, house-made pasta, homemade focaccia, pizza and main courses. Traditional dishes like cacio e pepe with handmade tonnarelli and rigatoni all’Amatriciana join Stovall’s own inventions, like agnolotti with chicken-and-sage polpettine and toasted pumpkin seeds.
“This is an Italian restaurant, but it’s really specific to Los Angeles,” explains Stovall. “This isn’t about emulating another place, but rather reflecting Lazio (the region in which Rome is located) in the reflection of Southern California, the variety of produce, the imprints of other culinary traditions — like spices and culinary techniques from other cultures — that I can access and be inspired by here in Los Angeles.”
The design from Stayner Architects is as fresh as the menu, with curvilinear green booths, exposed trusses and wood finishes combining with plants and terrazzo surfaces for a nature-forward feel.
“The restaurant is in a nearly hundred year-old building, one of the original structures in Echo Park,” says architect Christian Stayner. “There is a lot of Douglas fir wood and the space is volumetric and airy, sort of Italian train station meets a stylish friend’s living room.”
The polished brass wallhangings from photographer Matt Lipps, with stylized references to art history and culinary history, provide a glamorous contrast to the earthy colors.
Roman influence, Stayner says, can be seen in the stone — “both with enormous slabs in the kitchen and tables as well as crushed into terrazzo floors and countertops that we constructed in-house.”
Adjacent to Tilda wine bar, Bacetti emphasizes distinctive natural wines, with a focus on Italy, plus cocktails from beverage manager Christian Clark, formerly of the Freehand hotel’s Exchange Restaurant.
During the pandemic, Tilda managed to stay open by selling wine and other goods through a window. “Ours was updated with an intercom, and our staff would help customers pick out a bottle or a glass of wine to go before opening a little wooden door and sliding over the goods,” recalls Goldman.
1507 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles
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