Moby Talks Vegan Meatballs and Stuffed Shells at Little Pine

The musician’s organic meat-free restaurant opens in Silver Lake this week

Moby is poised to debut his new vegan restaurant Little Pine—a chic little Silver Lake spot for plant-based Cal-Med cuisine—later this week. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a restuarant that the musician slapped his name on; he’s had a hand in everything from the design, to the menu, to the personally curated art, books, and knickknacks in the attached retail shop.

The Art Deco building sports a cozy dining room built with raw materials—ceramic tiles, concrete, marble countertops—along with mid-century modern furniture, cool fabrics, forest-themed wallpaper, and Moby’s own photographs hanging around the room.  For the menu, Ann Thornton is no longer the collaborating chef on the project; instead, Kristyne Starling, who was a fixture at the New School of Cooking and formerly chef de cuisine at Aventine in Hollywood, has taken the helm to create plant-based offerings for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. There’s also an all-organic wine list, plus teas and other non-alcoholic sippers.

But how did the whole thing come to be? Moby gives us a little background.

The desire to open the restaurant, was it because you saw a hole that needed filled? For instance, are there just not enough vegan restaurants in LA? Or is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
I had a few restaurants in New York, and they were stressful and difficult but ultimately very emotionally satisfying. I found this amazing art deco building on Rowena and bought it and decided to turn it into a restaurant, so I could support organic farming, veganism, community, architecture, design, and my desire to eat dinner after I get out of a movie.

How did you come up with dishes for the menu?
I wanted the menu to be Mediterranean-inspired, so we’ve come up with a combination of the familiar (stuffed shells with pesto and marinara), and the unfamiliar (vegan cassoulet provencale). Mediterranean influences, meaning: French, Italian, Spanish, and a little bit North African.

Stuffed shells! What are they stuffed with? You have meatballs on the menu, too. How are those made?
Meatballs are a secret, sorry. The shells are stuffed with vegan ricotta that we make in-house. We’re using as many local, organic ingredients as possible.

Are these personal favorites or more classic dishes that you think everyone will love with a vegan twist?
We’re doing four menus a day: breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner. Some of the food is very indulgent, but because it’s vegan and 100% organic it doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve committed an egregious culinary sin.

True or false: Opening a restaurant is just like writing a song or producing an album?
Well, hmm, completely different. I write, produce, and record songs 100% by myself, in my tiny studio. Opening a restaurant involves dozens and dozens of people and takes place outside of my tiny studio. So, they’re both creative, but they really couldn’t be more different in terms of process.

Little Pine opens daily from 7:30am-midnight beginning Thursday, November 19.

2870 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake, 323-741-8148; littlepinerestaurant.com

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