The busy stretch of York Boulevard between Avenues 50 and 52 in Highland Park is about to get another restaurant. The 3,500-square-foot site, formerly home to the Verdugo Pet Store, has been leased by Sevan Abdessian, owner/chef of Recess Eatery in Glendale, who plans to open a second Recess restaurant there in 2015.
The new Recess will offer a similar menu to Abdessian’s current location at the north end of Brand Boulevard, with a California-meets-Mediterranean play on comfort foods, from fresh pastas and seafood to gourmet burgers and hearty salads. Many menu items will continue to have whimsical names, but with a HLP-specific twist, like the fish and chips entree rechristened “the Duke of York.”
Abdessian, a former Patina Group chef, is excited to be a part of the trendy street he describes as the next Melrose Avenue. But, he says, “Besides all that hype, I fell in love with our building. It’s a 1924 building that is so unique.”
Spacecraft’s Kris Keith, who is designing the space, agrees. Already, since construction began two weeks ago, he’s modifying his design to incorporate antique brickwork his team uncovered when they removed the stucco from the building’s façade. “We’re definitely going to leave it exposed and light it at night,” he says. They’re also going to expose the building’s bow truss ceilings in the spacious interior, which will include an open kitchen, full bar and takeout counter.
One of the restaurant’s nicest elements, according to both Abdessian and Keith, will be the 1,400-square-foot back patio, with olive trees, a fireplace and a communal table with heated seating. “We’re Mediterranean and we grew up living outdoors,” says Abdessian’s wife, Tamar Kevonian. “We were never interested in any building that did not allow for outdoor seating.”
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Abdessian is eyeing an early 2015 opening but plans to let Keith take as long as he needs to get the space just right: “We want to make a big statement” when Recess #2 opens for business, he says.