By Alesandra Dubin Posted December 29, 2011, 11:00 AM EST
LOS ANGELES As we look ahead to the coming year, these are some of the most important new and revamped event and meeting venues slated to open, bringing options for everything from cocktail parties and conferences, to business dinners and corporate meetings. Here's a preview of the hotels, restaurants, lounges, theaters, and other spaces the event industry will be talking about in 2012.
1. Two lobby spaces in the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre are being fully renovated to make the venue a grand event space as well as a theater. The new Grauman's Gallery has large black-and-white photographs of Hollywood legends from hand and footprint ceremonies. It works as a grand entrance and cocktail reception space. The 9,000-square-foot Grauman’s Ballroom has a three-story ceiling with three dramatic, bamboo chandeliers suspended from the top. There's a V.I.P. room on the balcony above the main ballroom with a separate sound system. The capacity is 250 for a seated event with stage and dance floor, or 1,500 for a reception. Technology includes giant screens, projectors, multiple speakers, and a DJ booth. The overhaul is slated to open officially in January (with a full kitchen coming later), though a few events will give it a test run, including a New Year's Eve party for Maxim.
2. Chef David Myers announced the planned opening of an Italian pizzeria restaurant to join the David Myers Group portfolio in the spring. Following recent openings in Las Vegas and Tokyo, Myers will expand the Pizzeria Ortica concept that focuses on pizza, pasta, and antipasti. The restaurant will offer a small, changing menu of local farmers’ market finds. Pizzas will be made with a 300-year-old biga.
3. The Los Angeles Ballroom and meeting space at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel Los Angeles is undergoing a $1.3 million renovation. The property plans to unveil changes in January, with new carpet, paint, and wall coverings throughout the California Level, which includes the 25,000-square-foot Los Angeles Ballroom, the 23,000-square-foot California Showroom exhibition space, and a series of breakout rooms totaling 7,500 square feet of event and meeting space. Furthermore, a complete overhaul of the hotel's original 1966 chandeliers will increase lighting and provide better visibility throughout the space. The renovation is being led by Santa Monica-based Design 360 Unlimited, which found inspiration in the works of Ernst Haeckle, a late 19th century zoology professor known for his detailed illustration of organic forms.
4. Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, owners of the Mendocino Farms sandwich shops, announced the opening of their New American restaurant downtown, Blue Cow Kitchen, slated to open in late January. Opening in the former Casa space, the restaurant will offer sandwiches as the heart of its menu and serve as a workshop for the Mendocino Farms team lead by chef-partner Judy Han.
5. Livello at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is slated to open in January. Newly named executive chef Joseph Elevado (who trained under Nobu Matsuhisa) will helm the hotel's new restaurant and lounge. Signature dishes will include a layered sashimi of sea urchin and whitefish with finger limes and shiso as well as a bone-in veal chop with pickled cherry pepper veal reduction. A handcrafted mixology program will have Italian and Asian influences, and a wine program will focus on Old World selection.
6. Blue Plate Taco, the restaurant at the new Shore Hotel, is slated to open in January. Adjacent to the pool with views of the Pacific, the restaurant bills its cuisine as a “healthy, authentic update to the classic taco stand,” with inspiration from the coastal cuisine found in Mexican seaside towns. The venue is the third installment from the creators of Blue Plate Oysterette and Blue Plate on Montana.
7. Owner Brad Johnson and Chef Govind Armstrong are behind the new Post & Beam, which is slated to open on New Year's Eve with the full menu offered January 3. The Baldwin Hills restaurant aims to bring garden-fresh ingredients, house-made pizzas, and California-style comfort food. The venue's name is meant to honor the mid-century architecture commonly found in the area.
8. From chefs and co-owners Quinn and Karen Hatfield, who are behind Hatfield's, comes a new, casual concept called the Sycamore Kitchen slated to open in the spring. The neighborhood space for seasonally focused fare and rustic pastries will have decor that mixes raw and industrial details, like brick walls and exposed pipes, along with natural elements such as an intimate courtyard and airy windows.
9. Partners Alex Kagianaris and Charles Lew are nearing completion on the second location of Stout Burgers and Beers, in Studio City. Spacecraft Group's Kristofer Keith will design the look to be similar to the original Hollywood location, and the venue will have a large patio. It is slated to open in early- to mid-February, right around the time construction is slated to begin on Stout's third location, in Santa Monica.
10. Kimbery Roussel, Errol Roussel, and David Dickerson are finalizing the details for the second location of their 24-hour diner Kitchen 24 (the original is in Hollywood's Cahuenga corridor). The new Santa Monica space expects to open in late January, with a palette of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Spacecraft is handling the interior design. A long bar will wrap around the whole diner space, and the Kitchen 24 logo decks fiberglass tables manufactured by the Sean Anderson surfboard company. There's also an outdoor community table.