The much anticipated Gusto Green, from the Canadian hospitality group led by Janet Zuccarini which also includes Felix in Venice, temporarily closed last week after abruptly firing chef Michael Magliano as it reevaluates the concept.
A last-minute town hall meeting was held with staff to discuss changes in leadership, re-training, maintaining the Gusto culture and a new menu in the hope of reopening on Wednesday, March 2.
Located in the Green Street office building, the restaurant opened in January and with Magliano’s guidance, was the first in the country to serve whole hemp leaf in partnership with the only federally regulated purveyor of hemp leaf for food, Ziese Farms. Their signature dish was a crispy chickpea battered whole hemp leaf.
“I’m hurt as I was not given a reason for my abrupt termination,” Magliano, who has worked as a chef in the California cannabis community for more than 10 years and is passionate about hemp, tells L.A. Weekly.
“The restaurant and the Green Street building were both curated through my community,” Magliano continues. “I’m proud of the innovative, plant-forward menu I created, tapping into farmers and vendors I have worked with for 20 years along with curating a delicious terpene-centric zero proof cocktail menu for our progressive consumer. I’m the first chef to bring federally legal hemp leaves via Ziese Farms to a restaurant in L.A. while also bringing ingredients from my past including palm hearts from the farmer I have known since my days at The French Laundry. The use of the hemp leaf was a legal bridge to the building. It’s one of the most nutritious plants in the world.”
While neither hemp nor is hemp seed is prohibited under the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabinoid restaurants have faced challenges in the past, including the now shuttered first CBD restaurant Spring, not far from Gusto Green in DTLA as well as the Lowell Cannabis Cafe, which is also closed while it reassesses its future.
“While we’ve parted ways and ultimately our visions did not align, Chef Magliano is a very talented chef and we wish him the best,” Zuccarini tells L.A. Weekly via email. “We remain committed to our promise of delivering delicious plant-forward cuisine with an exceptional team in place ready to welcome guests this coming Wednesday.”