Southern Comfort

Hospitality vets collaborate on Hatchet Hall, a unique addition to Culver City

Written by Michelle Lyn | Photography Courtesy of Chapple Design

complete renovation of the space formerly occupied by Waterloo & City has resulted in the stunning new hot spot Hatchet Hall. Restaurateurs Louie and Netty Ryan (The Townhouse, Menotti’s) teamed up with chef Brian Dunsmoor; General Manager Jonathan Strader; and LA wine sommeliers Maxwell Leer and Adam Vourvoulis to create a thoughtfully designed space that is charming and unorthodox at once.

The welcoming entrance to Hatchet Hall is light and airy as you pass a long bar and meander up to the curved, rustic-chic Oyster Bar with 10 seats. The open floor plan dining room spills out onto a gravel-covered outdoor patio, with a wallpapered, eclectic private dining room that could have been plucked straight out of your hip Southern grandmother’s house.

Making your way to the bar in back, the mood and ambience progressively darkens. The Old Man Bar (open after 8 p.m.) is awash in floor-to-ceiling wood, with a decidedly masculine vibe (think leather banquette and antlers over the fireplace).

Chef Dunsmoor hails from Georgia, but brings a West Coast sensibility to Southern cuisine. The menu changes daily, based on available produce, and ranges from simple, straightforward starters like the Ham Plate, to light dishes including Wood Grilled Octopus, to heavier fare with southern nuances like Chicken Liver, served with onion jam, pickles, apple vinegar over grilled bread (liver wine optional), and Buttermilk Fried Quail with caramel apple, honey, hazelnut and thyme. Pastry Chef Paige Russell, meanwhile, makes mouthwatering desserts like the Roasted Apple Sundae with buttermilk ice cream and apple cider donuts.

Sunday brunch is not to be ignored, especially with an appealing Pastry Basket filled with a rye carrot scone, pear and almond tart and persimmon muffin; Gulf Shrimp served over antebellum grits with bacon and mushrooms; and Fried Oyster Omelet completed with bacon, chanterelle, gribiche and herbs.

Yet perhaps one of the most interesting—and unconventional—parts of Hatchet Hall is its wine list, which Leer and Vourvoulis have democratized for non-wine drinkers. Free of traditional categories, like varietals or regions, the wine list is largely unrecognizable, encouraging guests to ask questions and experience new varieties. Designed to stimulate open conversation about wine in restaurants, the approach welcomes more than a nod to signify you enjoy a wine when poured a taste.

Fear not, though; if in the mood for a solid cocktail, barman Cappy Sorentino serves up strong drinks like Old Martinez (St. George dry rye repo gin, chinato vermouth, leopold maraschino, regans orange bitters) and Al La Louisiana (dickel rye whiskey, alessio torino vermouth, peychauds, benedictine and absinthe) in the Old Man Bar.

So whether wining or dining at this dog-friendly establishment, Southern hospitality shines at Hatchet Hall, promising something never tried before.

Hatchet Hall
12517 West Washington Boulevard
Culver City CA 90066
310.391.4222 |

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