Tucked into a strip mall just on the edge of Palos Verdes in Torrance, Hey 19 Public House feels as if it's been there forever, even though it just opened in November. It’s a casual, cozy, retro kind of place (“Hey 19” refers to the 1980 Steely Dan song), featuring posters of Farrah Fawcett and Star Wars memorabilia alongside Banksy prints, mismatched chairs, wacky light fixtures and old television shows projected on the walls (All in the Family was going one recent night).
The food menu is offered up in a Pee-Chee portfolio (don’t worry if you are not old enough to remember those, it’s still kitschy cool); and there’s even a photo of the loincloth-clad Raquel Welch from One Million Years B.C. adorning the drink menu.
It all adds up to a convivial setting that makes you feel as if you’ve just walked into a place like where everyone knows your name — or will shortly.
As owner Demi Stevens (of Ortega 120 fame) explains, “I wanted it to be a relaxed place where locals can come to eat, drink and dance a little, but with really good food.” Which means locally sourced, non-GMO and hormone-free organic offerings that range from house-made sausages, pâtés and pickles to various farmers market finds.
Highlights include a hand-cut ahi tuna appetizer with a spicy micro cilantro garlic sambal; mac and cheese with bacon and jalapeños; a house-brined, Cajun-spiced chicken served with waffles and collard greens; and a flavorful braised bone-in short rib that melts off that bone.
Stevens and her crew are crafting plenty of specialty cocktails as well. Stevens' signature drink, the #19, is a smooth-as-silk concoction using house-infused orange bourbon mixed with fresh lemon, lime and orange. At only $7, it's such a steal it might have you dancing on top of the bar, which is one way to make sure that everyone at Hey 19 really knows your name.
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