When Chad Colby announced back in June that he was leaving Chi Spacca to open a restaurant with brothers Curtis and Luke Stone, there was no doubt the project would be meat-focused. Colby's tenure in the Mozza family of restaurants had seen him become known and revered for his understanding of butchery and charcuterie (I once called him the Willy Wonka of meats, and it seems the term stuck somewhat). But aside from a Hollywood location and a meaty focus, no other details were forthcoming.
Today the Stone camp tells us that the project, which will be called Gwen Restaurant, will indeed be centered around meat. In fact, there will be a European-style, chef-driven butcher shop selling prime and rare-breed meats, poultry, house-made charcuterie and dry cures in an adjoining retail space. The restaurant will focus on fire-based cooking methods.
Designed by Brooklyn-based hOmE Studios, Gwen will be located at 6600 Sunset Blvd., smack in the middle of Hollywood. The 1920s building was formerly occupied by the Mercantile, and before that Township restaurant.
Like Maude, Curtis Stone's other restaurant, Gwen is named for a family matriarch. Maude was the first name of Stone's paternal grandmother, and Gwen was the Stone brothers' maternal grandmother. When asked about the origins of the name, restaurant reps said:
Gwen spent her whole life on a rustic farm in Victoria, Australia. She and her husband farmed sheep, cows and chickens. They grew produce, hunted and lived off the land. Gwen would often send her husband to the backyard to fetch ribs from a hanging sheep, or to slaughter a chicken for a dinner. What they raised, they ate, and she cooked for her family over an old wood-burning stove.
At Gwen Restaurant, age-old, fire-centric cooking methods and the best craft skills in meat and game preparations are inspired by the memories of their grandmother's provincial farm and authentic cooking.
If you've eaten at Maude in recent months, it's likely you've seen the other Stone brother, Luke, working on the floor of the restaurant delivering food or chatting to customers about wine. The restaurant business seems to suit him well.
Gwen Restaurant is expected to open in mid-2016.