It was a sad day in Los Feliz when old-school Mexican restaurant El Chavo, home to one of the most generous margarita happy hours in town, announced that it would be closing its doors at the end of 2015.
It now appears that the sadness might be short-lived, as the 50-year-old space will soon play host to a new bar and restaurant collaboration from Ceviche Project chef Octavio Olivas, Scarpetta chef Freddy Vargas and Cocktail Academy founder Brandyn Tepper. The concept will combine a seafood raw bar, with ceviches and oysters prepared to order, and a tequila and mezcal bar, featuring craft spirits and classic Mexican cocktails with a twist. Other items on the menu include tuna tostadas topped with yuzu-habañero sorbet, crispy pig ears with salsa verde and modernist riffs on tortas, tamales and tacos.
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The team won't be messing with the vibe of the original space too much, but will supplant the sometimes lackluster food at El Chavo with something a bit more modern. For Olivas, who has toured his roving pop-up Ceviche Project around L.A. and other parts of the country for the last few years, this project marks a more ambitious and permanent turn. He'll be helped along the way by fine-dining veteran Vargas and up-and-coming bartender Tepper (formerly of Hinoki & the Bird).
Per El Chavo's new Instagram, you'll still find margaritas, beer and tequila shots at the bar, as well as those famous margaritas — revamped, of course — which will go for $7, or $5 during happy hour.
It's unclear how long this collaboration is expected to last (and whether it will morph into a long-term project), but service will begin Saturday, Jan. 16, with dinner hours running from 5 to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
El Chavo, 4441 Sunset Blvd., Los Feliz; (323) 664-0871, elchavorestaurant.com.