When Christian Pappanicholas and Cory Lane decided to bring The Cannibal, their popular New York beer-and-butchery focused restaurant to Culver City, they had bikes on the brain. Well, meat and beer, too, but really bikes. When they open their West Coast location at the new PLATFORM development later this fall, not only will they have great grab-and-go options for cyclists, anyone in full riding gear (that would be a “kit” for us novices) gets their second beer free. That should make the ride home pretty fun.
For the non-cyclists, The Cannibal will have the same house-made sausages and charcuterie from their New York location as well as large-format, nose-to-tail dining. Having an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill in the center of the room allows executive chef Francis Derby to expand the menu, making it a bit larger than the original. The beer list will feature more than 500 local, national and international beers, mostly in cans and bottles; there will be about 10 tap lines with eight beers, plus two draft cocktails. And totally unique to L.A., there will be a full retail butcher and sandwich shop with a variety of take-out options.
Thanks to a huge outdoor area, more people can dine here, too. “The most appealing thing about The Cannibal in New York is that it’s compressed, it feels intimate. You wander into the bar, then the butcher shop and then the garden. We don’t want to lose that feel here.” The ceiling was actually lowered a bit to make it feel more compact, but it’s still very communal. “We’re cautious about how L.A. feels about space in restaurants. We didn’t want it to be a postage stamp. But it’s not a giant beer hall, either.”
While there is a strong cycling component at New York City original—there’s always racing on TV, bikes hanging on walls, etc—the theme will have more room to grow here in L.A. Literally. The space is much larger, for one, so the plan is to offer more things to cyclists like food-packed musette bags. “Whether you’re on a long tour or just a long ride in town, these bags are the way to get riders more fuel,” says Pappanicholas, who’s an avid cyclist on both coasts. “But you can only have so many gels and goos and Gatorade. People are getting into eating real food, and we’ll have that.”
Pappanicholas says they will also offer hearty snacks like rice bars, which are made with sushi rice and can be savory or sweet. They might have dried fruit and nuts, or even one that tastes like spanikopita. “They’re kind of like a bite or two. The bag could be a pre-ride thing, a post-ride thing. Just grab a couple of rice bars and a few waters.” But this being The Cannibal, well-known for its terrines, pig’s head Cuban sandwiches, and beers, the bags could also have a fatty sandwich, a bag of chips, and a soda.
When The Cannibal opens at the end of November or early December, it will be a part of a pretty snazzy new restaurant community, including Craftsman and Wolves patisserie from San Francisco; Loqui, a contemporary Baja-style taqueria from San Francisco chef Cameron Wallace (Tartine) and partner Ari Ampudia; and Juice Served Here and Blue Bottle Coffee along with some trendy shops. (Note: Michael White’s NYC-based AltaMarea group is no longer opening a restaurant here and there’s no word on Evan Funke’s planned Thoroughbred diner.)
“L.A. has always been a great food town, and we’re blown away by what we’ve been eating around town,” Pappanicholas says. “But the culture is growing. There are a lot of relationships between chefs and restaurants, like in New York. It’s important to have that kind of culture. We’re just excited to be a part of it.”
We see an L.A. Chefs Racing team in the works.
The Cannibal, 8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City