When John Sedlar opened his highly anticipated restaurant Rivera last January, little did we know that he'd just gotten started. Sedlar will be opening a second restaurant in the former Grace space on Beverly Boulevard in the fall. (Grace is relocating to new digs in the rectory of St. Vibiana's in downtown L.A. next year.) Called R26, Sedlar's new restaurant is set to open in October.
“It's more moderate, casual, mostly street food,” said Sedlar this morning. “Kind of a baby Rivera.” And the name? The R for Rivera, the 26 for the more than two dozen countries and regions that Sedlar identifies in his Hispanic culinary lexicon. A “pan-Latin fiesta” if you will.
Sedlar says that he wasn't really planning on expanding this quickly, but that the opportunity “just came out of the blue” and he and his partners Bill Chait and Eddie Sotto jumped on it. Sedlar, a culinary fixture in this town for decades (Saint Estèphe, Bikini, Abiquiu) has fond memories of the location, which has had two owners in its previous thirty years. Before Grace, the spot was home to the restaurant Muse. “I think I saw my first movie star there,” said Sedlar. “Steve Martin. He was on a date.”
R26 will feature more street food, new tacos, and will mark the introduction of fried foods to Sedlar's menu. “Chile rellenos, the panko that the Japanese brought to the peninsula.” As for rumored further expansion into Santa Monica, the chef says that such talk is premature. “No, no. Maybe in the future. I think we'll stick to this.”