According to Lawry’s president Tiffany Stith, when the patio was first in existence at century-old Atwater Village eatery Tam O’Shanter, Walt Disney was a regular customer.
“He had a particular love of the patio,” she says. “He requested that we build a glass enclosure so he could enjoy it all through the year. A lot of that early Disney animation work was done on cocktail napkins sitting around on the patio.”
Despite Disney’s love of the outdoor space, it eventually closed and Tam O’Shanter (a Lawry’s property) has remained a cozy, indoor eatery and one of L.A.’s longest-standing restaurants. Now, over 70 years later, the historic patio is back.
“The neighborhood is quickly changing,” Stith says of the impetus to build an outdoor space. “There are a lot of young families and just kind of an emerging demographic that is just really enjoying dining outside.”
The original building was designed in 1922 by Hollywood set designer Harry Oliver. “You see the Tam’s architecture in some of the Snow White drawing,” Stith points out. The new space boasts ample seating, hanging lights and an outdoor fireplace that mimics the original Hansel and Gretel hearth that once burned inside.
“There were a lot of construction conversations about it not looking enough like melting marshmallows yet,” says Stith. “It really was supposed to look very much like something that’s hand hewn. And it very much was.”
The outdoor space inspired a new pub and patio menu featuring lighter fare, like a beet and veggie burger, smoked salmon salad, and sandwich versions of classics like the Scotch rarebit and prime rib. That said, all menu items are available indoors and out. In addition to its famous Scotch selection, Tam O’Shanter has launched a new cocktail program that includes large-format shareable libations like giant Moscow Mules (for four to six people) or Tam’s Tea Service, a punch poured and served in a traditional English porcelain tea set.
“We’re excited about having this patio be an added little jewel in the community where we can build the rapport that we’ve had with the neighborhood for 95 years. We’ve been a part of the community for a long time and we feel really good about investing in it.”
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