“Cuban expat Birdie moves to Miami and meets Clyde [her future husband]; they migrate back to his native New Orleans to open this restaurant. He’s dressed in a different suit every day of the week, is infectiously charming and adores Birdie. She’s passionate about food and the power it has to bring people together.”
This simple narrative, as retold by interior designer Sally Breer—who cofounded Los Angeles-based firm ETC.etera with stylist/creative director Jake Rodehuth- Harrison—inspired Café Birdie’s whole concept. But there’s more to the story.
Located in a 1920s-era building in historic L.A. neighborhood Highland Park, the restaurant-bar is open daily for dinner and on weekends for brunch. Helmed by chef Russell Victorioso, the establishment features a seasonal menu that blends Californian and Mediterranean references and includes farmers’ market salads, handmade pastas, burrata and Moroccan-spiced fried chicken, as well as a variety of cocktails such as Summer in the City, Flora and Overnight Flight, that showcase tequila, gin, vodka and fruit.
An expression of the ETC.etera team’s creative philosophy, this project required outside-the-box thinking, as well as an expert blend of form, functionality and mood. “Our spaces are equal parts tactile and narrative,” ETC.etera designers say.
“To us, there’s a difference between simply furnishing a space and decorating it, between creating environments that are based on trends and those that have lasting appeal.”
Shaped to please the eye and the soul, Café Birdie—which also has an outdoor back patio—features marble-top counters, high ceilings, copper tables with banquettes and hanging pendant lighting. The combination makes it a lively space, both casual and energetic.
“We really wanted Café Birdie to transcend place and time,” says Rodehuth-Harrison. “[We wanted it to be] a space that you loved being in, but couldn’t quite put a finger on what exactly felt so comfortable, even familiar.” It’s this intangible sense of surprise that gives the neighborhood bistro a come-one-come-all flavor.
PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF TESSA NEUSTADT