Two things are true. The first is that Garance is completely loving life in LA (and from how she describes it, why wouldn’t she be??). The second is that The Butcher’s Daughter is high on our collective studio list of things to do in NYC. Healthy, attractive vegetarian food so covetable you’d brave sitting at one of their outside tables on a “relatively mild” February afternoon.
Well, G will brave the breeze no longer…because this time last year The Butcher’s Daughter opened its West Coast doors on Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach and it just feels so right. You might remember seeing the Bungalow + Breakfast here on the site last summer, which is a cozy B&B extension of the restaurant and its dynamic creator, Heather.
Today we’re back in LA, taking an intimate peek inside the restaurant and getting to know a little more about it from Heather. If you needed another reason to contemplate a mid-winter migration, this is it.
What pushed you to open the first location in NYC
I started the Butcher’s Daughter in New York, around the corner of where I used to live (I used to have this fantastic loft on Bowery). I wanted to open a juice bar within a couple of blocks of where I lived because there wasn’t one. I guess is started as a pet project that grew into a huge business!
What was the catalyst that prompted the opening of the LA location? Was it a natural next step?
I decided to bring BD to the West Coast because I was already living out here. I decided to move to Venice Beach from NYC about 3 years ago. I absolutely love California and have been wanting to move here for a long time. I also knew that once I got here, Venice would be an ideal location for expansion. The brand is actually more West Coast than East Coast. The Butcher’s Daughter exudes the sunny California lifestyle!
What are the main differences between The Butcher’s Daughteroperating in New York and in LA? Culturally, produce wise, etc.
First and foremost the weather! I love the idea of having a restaurant that can be indoor and outdoor – with the ocean breeze flowing year round! I also think Venice and California in general is very health focused and it’s integrated into the everyday lifestyle. Also the produce is much better out here – and it’s available year round! I love strolling through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and seeing what’s in season.
Why did you choose to locate in Venice Beach? What are your favorite parts of the neighborhood?
The ocean. When you live in New York City for a decade you are VERY drawn to the ocean – I wanted to be within walking distance to the ocean, and I loved the idea of surfers walking by in their wetsuits with their boards and stopping at our Take Out Window for a post-surf juice or coffee!
Where do you live?
I live locally here in Venice. My fiancé and I bought this rad compound that has a work/live component so we both have a home office on site.
What do you attribute the success of The Butcher’s Daughter to?
Being a designer, I think that the design I have laid out in each location really draws people in. The design theme is a feminine take on a masculine concept. The butcher shop, in theory, is very old-world masculine – with lots of iron and steel and cool, hard surfaces. When you take the dial and turn it toward a softer feminine side, you add materials like raw wood, white brick and tons of greenery and succulents, it becomes more interesting and alive.
I always like to design an element of community into the layout. In New York, even though the space is short of 650 square feet, I managed to put a large communal dining table inside that seats 14 people. I also put mini beer garden tables outside, so parties of 2 can sit with another party and share. It’s a great way to meet people (and shorten your wait for a table at brunch).
For the LA restaurant, I designed a communal dining counter running through the center of the space, with the same wood swing stools that we have in NYC (they’re salvaged from an old school cafeteria from the 40s). This communal counter is 25 ft long and houses the espresso and coffee production for the entire restaurant. The counter is only 6 feet wide, so you can also strike up a conversation from people directly across from you. It’s a great community “hub” for Venice – I often see people stop in several times a day at the counter.
Where does the name come from?
When I first came up wit the concept, I didn’t have a name but I already knew I wanted to design it like a butcher shop, except with vegetables instead of meat hanging from the meat hooks. Basically when you juice fruits and vegetables, you butcher them. I came up with the idea of calling it the Butcher’s Daughter because I created a story in my head…that if there was an old butcher today, his daughter would probably be a vegetarian.
What is your ideal Saturday in LA?
If it’s a nice day, I will go paddle boarding in Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey, which starts in this shallow glassy bay and then you can paddle out past all the sail boats and out into the ocean in Venice. It’s a gorgeous view and good workout! After that I will grab brunch with Jake or friends – many times at Butcher’s Daughter because we can always get a table (one of the perks of being an owner!) Later we may stroll Abbot Kinney and check out what’s new on the street – there is always a new pop up shop or small outdoor flea market happening on the weekends. Saturday evenings we may even stay in and cook if we’ve had an active day.
What’s next for the restaurants west coast division?
I want to open a location on the East Side of LA – maybe Silverlake or the Arts District downtown. I’m casually looking at some spaces now but I’m taking my time. I also love the idea of opening a location in Ojai one day, with an avocado farm and inn to stay overnight.