Having created a mini niche empire with his beer and wine "Rooms" in New York, Miami and Venice Beach, Craig Weiss is gearing up to open a visionary neighborhood foodie haven called Local 1205 next to his bar The Otheroom, on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
Squid Ink took a speed walk down the chaotic Boulevard during First Friday to talk with Weiss about his new place. Speaking without punctuation and only pausing long enough to greet each neighbor as they walked/bicycled/skateboarded by, the interview pretty much wrote itself.
Squid Ink: What is Local 1205?
Craig Weiss: It's a combination café/market that includes a lot of the slow food movement, luxurious foods from across the world that we can indulge ourselves in, local products, a lot of products that haven't been in America before...it's inspired by Dean & DeLuca and Balducci's and Citarella and Mary's Fish Camp and Blue Ribbon and Raoul's and Katz's Deli and Russ and Daughters and Murray's Cheese Shop...no matter what medium you're involved in, you take inspiration from something else - the thing is to put an original twist on it.
SI: Break the place down for me.
CW: Up front they'll be a huge station of international newspapers, (the L.A. Weekly will for sure be in there) organic coffees and smoothies, fresh squeezed juices, smoked fish, bagels and bialys-
SI: Where are you going to get your bagels?
CW: H&H in New York. We'll have fresh cut flowers, flatbeds of farmer's market produce, a salad bar, charcuterie, cheese, gourmet sandwiches, sausages hanging from the ceiling, fresh roasted turkeys and chickens and pork loin and Iberico Ham with everything on the bone no Boar's Head meat bullshit no processed meat, a bunch of stinky cheeses I have a huge cheese cave, in the back we'll have a raw bar with oysters, a wood coal pizzeria oven Neapolitan-style...my philosophy is based on the diversity of the neighborhood; you go to The Otheroom and get a glass of wine for eight bucks or one for sixteen - you go to Local 1205 and you'll be able to get a Kosher hot dog for three dollars or a lobster roll for twenty four.
SI: Why here, now?
CW: We have a lot of New Yorkers in Venice and everyone complains about the food. We live in a bubble west of Lincoln; we don't like going to the other side of town, we don't like going north or south unless it's to the beach so I'm fulfilling a niche. And no place is open for food until three AM.
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SI: Three AM?! You feeling ready?
CW: It's a special moment in time to be on Abbot Kinney--it's being gentrified with integrity and I'm really excited. It's terribly exciting.
Local 1205: 1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.
Opening Thanksgiving, 2009. Be excited.