Amuse Bouche: Warner Ebbink

We asked restaurateur Warner Ebbink (Little Dom’s, Dominick’s), who is opening a revamped Tom Bergin’s this month: What’s your connection to the landmark Irish bar?

I used to live at Orange and Crescent Heights in the early ’90s, so it was my neighborhood bar.

How do you update a classic without ruining it?

By being even more serious about what the place does well. Bergin’s has always been a great local hangout, and it’s the original L.A. sports bar. But for a lot of years it was also known as a proper steak-and-chops house with Irish classics. So that’s what chef Brandon Boudet and I are going to do here again, but with grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, free-range poultry, sustainable local seafood, and local organic produce. I’ve also brought in bartender Marcos Tello to curate a great Irish whiskey list.

Can we still score a shamrock on the wall?
Maybe, but in the recent past they made it too easy to earn one. I think you just picked up a punch card, and if you went in five times, you got a shamrock. With us you’ll have to be a super regular, but when you earn it, we’ll celebrate your shamrocking and present you with a certificate. It will be a big deal.  

Illustration by Jason Lee