Earlier this month, Goodfellas, the Italian eatery on Melrose, changed concepts and became a wine bar called Cellar 55. The wine bar and restaurant now features live piano music inside, and a spacious outdoor back patio. It is run by chef/owner Suzy Mnatsakanyan, and her brother Mike Mnatsakanyan. But why the change-over? "Because it was never mine," said Ms. Mnatsakanyan.
After training at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, Mnatsakanyan lived and worked in New York before coming back to Los Angeles, and eventually operating her own catering business. Then, in 2006, "Goodfellas happened to be available so I just took over." Four years later, she is changing the business into something with a bit more personal appeal.
The menu is certainly different, but does still has a lot of Italian fare, like pizzas and pastas. It also dabbles in American comfort foods, with steak, crab cakes, beef sliders, chocolate lava cake, and the like. "I was so limited with the cuisine [before] but now I am very free. I can play with my menu. Anything I want."
The back patio has a covered seating area, with a dining table as well as couches. Inside, there will be regular live jazz music on weekends, though the schedule is subject to change (and of course, updates can be found on their Twitter feed). The wine list is handled by sommelier Chris Miller (formerly of Mozza), with no specific allegiance to any one country.
Cellar 55 is currently open from noon until 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends -- though they plan to eventually stay open later. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Cellar 55: 7455 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323) 951-1555.