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Bow & Truss, A-Frame, Post & Beam: Diners, do we sense a trend?

June 13, 2012 | 11:07 am

Post & Beam

There's the new Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills, the even newer restaurant and bar Plan Check on Sawtelle Avenue, A-Frame in Culver City, Salvage Bar & Lounge in downtown L.A. and, opening soon, Bow & Truss in North Hollywood.

The latest trend in restaurant names, it seems, are allusions to design and construction -- phrases that resonate with architectural allure. Now that Los Angeles has enough idiosyncratically animal-named restaurants to populate a farm -- Blue Cow, Hungry Cat, Black Hogg, Lazy Ox -- design-oriented monikers appear to be emerging as the next wave.

"The restaurant world went so far with design, I think it's a natural cyclical reaction," Post & Beam co-owner Brad Johnson said, adding that the restaurant-going public has tired of "gimmicks and over-the-top antics that get in the way of the experience."

A Frame outsideFittingly, the restaurants' contemporary décor favors visible structural elements and a sense of material honesty -- much like how meticulous sourcing of ingredients on menus can translate to greater appreciation for what's on the plate.

"We went over so many other names but kept coming back to the obvious because the building was actually the gem," chef and co-owner Roy Choi said of A-Frame, which occupies occupies a former IHOP.

Morgan Margolis, chief executive and president of Knitting Factory Entertainment, took inspiration from the circa 1930 auto garage that is being renovated to house Bow & Truss, a Spanish restaurant and cocktail bar in the North Hollywood Arts District. "I just happened to dig these ceilings," Margolis said.

When Johnson and Post & Beam co-owner and chef Govind Armstrong studied the area, they noted a number of Modern structures, including a couple by L.A. icon R.M. Schindler. They decided to "tie the concept and name into the architecture" and apply "the whole idea of form follows function" to all aspects of their business, which is in a new building at the base of the Baldwin Hills.

Given how the rise of the so-called celebrity chef has dovetailed with the "starchitect" phenomenon, it's not surprising to see the two worlds meet. "A lot more owners are becoming personally involved in the process of permitting and construction," said Silver Lake architect Ana Henton of MASS Architecture & Design. Which could explain Plan Check, named for one of the more tortuous aspects of opening any restaurant in Los Angeles.

-- Jessica Ritz

Plan Check

Photos, from top: Ken Lombard of Capri Capital Partners, which owns Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza, at Post & Beam; A-Frame; Plan Check. Credits: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times; A-Frame; Luis Cinco / Los Angeles Times

Corrected: An earlier version of this article misidentified the man in the Post & Beam photo as Brad Johnson.

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