With his latest restaurant, chef Wolfgang Puck is both reflecting on his glorious past and planning for a bright post-pandemic future.
Merois, Puck’s new Asian-inspired bistro, is perched above Sunset Boulevard on the rooftop of the Pendry West Hollywood. The location is meaningful for Puck, who opened the original Spago on the Sunset Strip in 1982. That now-legendary restaurant quickly became a celebrity hangout and a driving force for vibrant California cuisine, with Puck’s smoked-salmon pizza becoming a star in its own right. “For me, that’s where it all started,” Puck says, “looking out from Spago, out on the city, and saying, ‘Wow, L.A.’ And then having such a successful restaurant beyond my wildest dreams.”
Puck is writing a new chapter of his Sunset story at the Pendry, where he’ll be handling the food for the entire property, from Merois to in-room dining to a new café called Ospero. And at his side will be his son Byron, 26, who will serve as the general manager for both Merois and Ospero. A front-of-house star who has managed Spago in Beverly Hills for the past two years, Byron also loves being in the back-of-house and has cooked in the Puck test kitchen.
“I love meeting our guests, but I definitely see myself bouncing back and forth [between the kitchen and front-of-house],” says Byron, who started washing dishes at Spago when he was 12 and has cooked at fine-dining powerhouses like Chicago’s Alinea and Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca. “I love the creative side of the kitchen.”
His jovial 71-year-old father says he’d love for Byron, or one of his younger brothers, to eventually run the company. “I was approached many times to sell the business,” Puck says. “I really don’t want to do that. Ideally, it will stay a family business. My dream is to look down from heaven and say, ‘Oh my God, the kids are doing much better than I did.’”
8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, pendry.com.
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