Fed up with the rowdy sports bar scene, owner Richard DiSisto (Tipple & Brine, Tunnel Bar, Lucy’s 51) closed Mad Bull's Tavern a few months ago to make way for his latest concept: Murph's Service Station. “That bull was on steroids,” he says, now looking to attract a very different crowd into Murph's, a throwback to Americana and late-'40s, postwar good times. A “Murph” is the working man who built and rebuilt this country, he explains, “but the truth is, he’s every man and every woman who stepped up when the country needed them.”
There will be burgers and charcuterie plates at Murph’s, and executive chef Mike Williams (Tipple & Brine, the Tasting Kitchen, the Parish) will do all butchering in-house. The menu is a work in progress, but DiSisto hints at simple seasonal American cuisine, bar bites, and beer and wine on tap.
Still under construction, Murph's entrance looks like a revamped service station, with a mechanical garage door separating the front patio from the main dining area. Once inside, you’ll find a long concrete bar spanning the entrance to the back of the restaurant, old car parts, vintage lighting, big cushy leather booths and lots of repurposed steel.
Murph’s Service Station, slated to open in September, is one more piece of a growing puzzle for DiSisto. Leasing what seems like every prime piece of real estate he can find, Murph’s adds to DiSisto’s growing list of establishments — all within 200 feet of each other on Ventura Boulevard — which already consists of Tipple & Brine and Tunnel Bar.
Next up for the native New Yorker is Italian concept di Avellino, adjacent to Tipple & Brine. The restaurant is an homage to his grandfather Vincenzo Balascio, who immigrated to the United States from Andretta, Italy, in the province of Avellino.
The menu will be inspired by the flavors of Andretta. “It’s one immigrant’s story,” says DiSisto, who hopes to have the restaurant operational by the end of this year. Once di Avellino is complete, DiSisto will have added nearly 165 jobs to the small stretch of street, which he hopes soon will be known officially as downtown Sherman Oaks.