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Small Bites: John O'Groats to expand, Matteo's reinvents itself (again), Monday night oyster roasts at the Hungry Cat

April 1, 2009 |  3:50 pm


The new new Matteo's? Old-school Italian restaurant Matteo's had been all but forgotten up until a few years ago, when new owners installed Don Dickman (of erstwhile Rocca) as executive chef, who expunged dishes such as chicken Beckerman from the menu. But Dickman didn't stick around long (he's expected to man the stoves at Claudio Blotta's forthcoming Barbrix, according to Food GPS), and the new Matteo's never seemed to take off. But now a new chef, Antonio Orlando from Fresco in Glendale, is serving his own twists on classic dishes from his hometown of Salerno, Italy. And Murder Mystery Dinner Theater has been added every Saturday night. There's also happy hour -- 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Friday -- with half-off well drinks. Hopefully, the Red Skelton clown painting is still hanging. 2321 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 475-4521.

T.G.I.M.: Next week (April 6), the Hungry Cat kicks off its Monday Night Oyster Roasts, with Low Country roasted oysters (by the dozen or half-dozen), sausages, pork belly and Hungry Cat potato salad. There will be the requisite beer and cocktail specials. 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 462-2155.  www.thehungrycat.com

JOG for the Valley: Paul Tyler, owner of John O'Groats -- the West L.A. restaurant that draws weekend brunchers in droves, says he will open a second restaurant in Encino in September. (JOG recently was featured in Esquire magazine's "Best Breakfasts in America" issue.) JOG's Valley sibling will be located in the newly constructed Sorrento Building, with a breakfast-lunch-dinner menu similar to the 27-year-old Pico Boulevard flagship (omelets, pancakes, fish & chips, fried chicken, meat loaf...). There will also be a full bar. 16120 Ventura Blvd., Encino (coming fall).

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Matteo's. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times