Q&A with Top Chef Team Behind Playa del Rey's New Restaurant
From LA Confidential, by Jessica Estrada, March 26, 2014:
LA-based Top Chef alum Brooke Williamson and her husband Nick Roberts have already won some hearts and palates with their beachy gastropub spots, The Tripel (333 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey, 310-821-0333) and Hudson House (514 N. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, 310-798-9183). Now, the culinary power couple is gearing up to wow Angelenos once more with their new all-American concept restaurant, Playa Provisions, in Playa del Rey. The resto features four different concepts within one space—Dockside, King Beach, Small Batch, and Grain—inspired by the city’s country marts and is set to open at the end of April.
Find out more about the duo’s new resto, what it’s like working together, and how life changed after Top Chef.
What inspired Playa Provisions?
NICK ROBERTS: It’s a great space [where] we could do a lot of the ideas that we’ve been talking about over the years.
BROOKE WILLIAMSON: Yeah, we’ve been looking at that location [for] the past, I don’t know, seven, eight years, and we knew that space had so much potential. It just never kind of took off as anything else, so we decided to take a stab at it. We had several different concepts in mind for spaces that we wanted to do, and we felt like all of them really worked well together and it was the perfect location for it.
Can you elaborate on the space’s different concepts?
BW: The whole thing that ties [it] together is this sort of all-American concept. We have the slightly East Coast-feeling seafood house [Dockside]. We have a café [King Beach], which will have breakfast, lunch, pastries, and great coffee drinks. Then we have a creamery [Small Batch] that will have ice creams, toppings, popsicles, and push-up [pops]. Then we have a whiskey bar in the back [Grain], which will have mostly classic cocktails.
What are some menu highlights?
BW: For the actual restaurant, we’re going to focus on seafood, but we’ll also have another area of the menu for land animals and proteins, and then a list of sides. The ice creams will have a couple of standard flavors that are always there, but we’ll also have a smaller list of more flavors that you wouldn’t expect at an everyday ice cream parlor. We’re also going to have a whiskey bar menu, which will have more finger food-type things.
How would you describe the décor?
BW: We’re going for sort of an East Coast meets Big Sur, sort of…
NR: Rustic East Coast…
BW: Slightly modern…
NR: There’s a lot going on. [laughs]
BW: And each space within will look slightly different as well.
What is it about beachside neighborhoods that attracts you?
NR: You know, we’ve always been very beachy people. We’ve lived on the Westside since we’ve been together.
BW: It’s kind of a more casual environment without trying to be.
NR: Playa del Rey is one of those great neighborhoods where everybody just knows each other.
BW: Yeah, we feel like the beach communities are actual neighborhoods and communities that actually support each other and that’s the kind of area that we’re attracted to.
What’s it like running the restaurants together as a couple?
NR: There’s never a dull moment.
BW: A lot of people say that they can’t imagine possibly working with their spouse, and we can’t imagine not working with each other because it’s the only way we’ve ever known each other.
NR: We’re both very different. We look at different things. So we cover each other’s weak spots. So it’s nice.
How has life been since Top Chef?
BW: Busy. Less sleep. I’m constantly looking to see what the next event that I’m doing is. There are just a lot of events and a lot of traveling, which was never really part of my job description. Now part of being at work is sometimes being in a different part of the country or state.
What was the most rewarding aspect of being on the show?
BW: I would say that there are two things, and they are both reasons why I did it in the first place. One was just [to] battle my weaknesses and my personal fears, and I feel like I came out a stronger person, feeling like I could accomplish pretty much what I set my mind to regardless of how scary it was. And in a business sense, our business spiked ridiculously when the show was on and we’ve been able to sustain a lot of that business, so I would say [that was] a huge reward.
Link to full interview: