Big changes are underway at Pete’s Café in Downtown. Chef Josef Centeno announced today that he plans to join the neighborhood restaurant on 4th and Main as business partner and executive chef, and will be revamping the menu to serve his own take on classic American cuisine. It will be Centeno’s fourth restaurant within two blocks.
In a statement sent to Los Angeles magazine, Centeno explained,”when Peter McLaughlin [owner of Pete’s Cafe] approached me about taking over the reins of what is a downtown institution as a partner, I paused for a second, took a deep breath and said, ‘yes!”
As part of the deal, Centeno insisted on keeping the restaurant’s name the same. “Pete’s has been here on this corner since 2002, before any downtown revitalization was really underway,” says Centeno. “It paved the way for the opening of restaurants like Bäco Mercat.”
The new menu will take inspiration from Centeno’s first cookbook: American Cookery by James Beard.
“I wanted to do my version of classic American dishes, much of which is rooted in early 20th century cuisine, which also fits in with the history on this block,” says Centeno. “But Beard also lived in and was influenced by France, so there is a touch of that too.”
Look for “dishes that most everyone loves but maybe take for granted” such as a classic club sandwich, Waldorf salad, clam chowder, crab cakes, steak Diane, and sand dabs sautéed in caper brown butter. They’ll also be plenty of ritzier offerings like lobster Newburg, crab legs with remoulade, Waldorf salad, scallops gratin, chilled prime rib, and a double pork chop smothered with mushroom and caramelized onion cream sauce.
Desserts hearken to yesteryear as well—Centeno plans to serve apple-gooseberry pie, chocolate cake, lemon meringue pie, and the flaming classic, Baked Alaska.
Pete’s will also undergo a complete interior and exterior remodel as well. According the restaurant’s Facebook page, Pete’s will close this week and hopefully reopen around October. When it does, expect breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily, plus a full bar.
Pete’s Café, 400 S. Main St., Downtown, 213-617-1000