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ver, Moses says he can’t imagine a grand U.S. train station without good oysters. For him, the only logical choice was bringing in David Lentz from the Hungry Cat to take charge of the food menu.
“When I saw the space, I was really blown away and quite honestly shocked that it sat dormant for such a long time,” Lentz says.
“It was a no-brainer. I jumped at the chance. Cedd initially had ideas and
one component was shellfish, which I’ve done for a large part of my career. Unfor- tunately, a lot of train stations aren’t so great with their dining options.”
Gone are the shad roe and kidneys. Lentz’s menu is largely shellfish-based, and with a newly installed smoker also offers pork ribs, fish tacos and whatever goes well with beer. Lentz is experiment- ing with a variety of sausages and other smoked meats on the ever-evolving menu. Oyster varieties from both coasts and Santa Barbara uni are featured, as well as plump, house-smoked mussels. “It’s an iconic space and we want to preserve the history,” Lentz says. “But moving forward with the beer program here, the bar program is amazing; we want to do the same with the food. Elevated service combined with great hospitality. Whether it’s somebody who’s riding the train daily, or somebody on the Metro, walking by or going to the Dodger game, we want to provide a great experience.”
A lot of credit for the rebirth of the station and the old Harvey space goes
to Metro, which had the good sense and business acumen to buy it in 2011 for $75 million for 42 acres and hire Ken Pratt
as director of Union Station Property Management in 2013. He says it was the real estate deal of the century.
“I really have to say thank you to Metro for the support and allowing me the freedom to do the right things here,” says
Chef David Lentz of the Hungry Cat brought a largely shellfish-based menu to the Imperial Western Beer Co.
Pratt, who commutes on the train to and from Orange County every day. “They’ve allotted an additional $46 million to put it into a state of good repair and bring it up to speed today. It was really derelict and was not the place that people wanted to frequent. And today it is.”
The station has a lot of family mem- ories and sentimental significance to Pratt, who remembers taking the San Diegan to Santa Ana when he was a kid to visit Uncle Buddy after having a family lunch at Philippe’s.
“At that time, we still ran steam engines,” Pratt recalls. “The 3751 was
the locomotive, a big black behemoth
of a machine sitting on the platform chugging and breathing. Then you got on the train and the bell begins to ring. You would hear the release of the air brakes and the jerk of the cars begin to move and you’re off on your adventure. I swear to God, still today, you can hear that engine sound.”
With their shared love for the city of Los Angeles, the combination of Pratt and the 213 Hospitality Group was a match made in renaissance heaven. Mo- ses is the definition of hospitality with a passion for detail. If you meet him at the bar just once, he’s the kind of guy who will remember your favorite drink and what you ate.
“Cedd Moses is known for his abilities as a restaurateur and hospitality, but
he also has a real care — not a manu- factured one but a deep-seated one,” Pratt says. “He’s very sincere about what happens. They took this on with an eye to making it a magnificent place to be proud of. Not just as their facility but our facility. His business partner Eric Needleman and Cedd were engaged and involved and committed to doing the right thing for the property for our mutual customers.”
The project cost between $4.5 million and $5 million and was funded by the Spirited Group Opportunity ( 21 »
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