On April 27, 2008 a raging inferno erupted at a popular Los Angeles restaurant. The eatery was packed at the time, serving about 90 patrons, all of whom evacuated safely, but within half an hour, half a million dollars in damage had been suffered and the doors to Off Vine, a beloved cornerstone of Hollywood’s culinary scene since it opened in 1989, were shuttered indefinitely. Brunch in Hollywood hasn’t been the same since.
But on March 18, 2010, almost two years after the engulfing fire practically consumed this adorable, quaint converted craftsman home dating back to 1908, it has returned triumphantly with a renovated interior and a new upstairs dining area available for dinner or private events.
Co-owner Richard Falzone explains it was a long road to rebuild the beloved restaurant after such a devastating tragedy, which was determined to have been caused by an electrical problem. Falzone, along with owners Greg Fedderly and chef/owner Tony Hernandez, wanted to maintain the beauty and charm of the home so many Angelenos had come to know and love, but they also needed to upgrade the space in certain ways. In the end, it took insurance money, numerous bank loans, and an extra $100,000, garnered through fundraisers and donations from regulars, to be able to re-open Off Vine’s doors.
“I felt like George Bailey,” Falzone smiles. “We were so lucky we had that kind of community support.”
It’s easy to see why. Walking into the restaurant, which is tucked away, you guessed it, off Vine and south of Sunset, you feel as if you’ve been whisked from Los Angeles and transported to a lovely home in the south of France. Make no mistake; Off Vine is a home run if you’re looking to make a great first impression on a date.
While many things at Off Vine have been revamped, regulars will be happy to know the menu has stayed the same and that includes their brunch which, for two decades, has been one of LA’s most beloved weekend destinations. With the return of signature dishes like the Off Vine French Toast, made with rustic raisin nut bread, or the Eggs Sardo, a vegetarian version of Eggs Benedict with artichoke bottoms substituting for Canadian bacon and English muffins, expect long waits on Saturday and Sunday.