The grand-opening fete for gourmet grocer, deli and 185-seat restaurant, Bottega Louie last Thursday night was grand indeed — swarming with beautiful waiters and an even more beautiful guest list, all on downtown's Grand Avenue. Among the beautiful bites were foie gras on toast, crisp-crusted baked-clam pizza, goat cheese on endive, and fried Porcini mushrooms dipped in garlicky aioli. Throughout the party you could watch the chefs take thin-crusted pies out of the 800-degree pizza oven — at those temperatures, the pies seemed to need just a brisk three minutes of cooking.

Bottega Louie is no tiny cafe/grocer — it employs more than 250 workers, some of whom are poets, laid-off engineers, actors, professors and even a journalist from Australia.

With sky-high ceilings, freshly painted white walls and marble flooring, the 10,000-square-foot space at 7th and Grand resembles more of a converted high-end bank than a food emporium … if, that is, you've never been to the gourmet grocers in New York City.

The NYC comparison isn't completely accidental. The Beverly Hills Food Company created an emporium that Director of Corporate Concierge Nicole Tilley compares directly to New York's famed Dean and Deluca. “We will be so good you can't live without us,” she says. “Quality, atmosphere, and a lifestyle brand.” If you live or work in the area, you can simply mosey into Louie's deli and grab a cappuccino and cupcake for the commute home — don't expect the massive cupcakes-on-steroids you find at Sprinkles — but these small frosted bites will tie you down for the ride home.

Speaking of lifestyle, we like the idea of walking across the street to drink a frothy whiskey sour at Seven Grand before or after dinner at Louie — then again, if you stay put Louie's own mixologist can concoct an old-school cocktails you'll be sure to remember — or not, depending on how many you have.

Bottega Louie is at Bottega Louie is located at 700 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A, (866) 418-9162 or

LA Weekly