Shop & Dine
Hitting the trade-show circuit is a bit of an adventure. If you’re a buyer, it’s all about discovering that new clothing line that will sell through the roof. If you’re a vendor, it’s hoping that retailers love your collection and can’t get enough of it.
Traveling around the country for trade shows is also an adventure, especially if you want to discover new places to eat and shop to take the edge off a long day inside a large space filled with hundreds of booths or showrooms.
Here are a few suggestions on the new restaurants and fashionable boutiques found in some of the major cities on the trade-show circuit.
Le Petit Paris
418 S. Spring St.
On a thoroughfare once known as the Wall Street of the West, a new French brasserie opened recently in one of the more beautiful historic buildings in downtown Los Angeles.
A 19th-century grand staircase rises from the main dining room to the two mezzanines above, and magnificent round chandeliers hover like satellites.
Le Petit Paris occupies the former lobby of what was once the Hotel Stowell, built with Gothic and Art Nouveau flourishes in 1913. It later became the El Dorado Hotel, which is now the El Dorado Lofts.
Located in the old Bank District, which saw a major decline from around the 1940s until this century, the place is filled with more than 100 years of history. Charlie Chaplin wrote in his autobiography that he once had an extended stay at the Hotel Stowell while he was working on some films for Essanay Pictures.
This behemoth of a building with great bones attracted the interest of David and Fanny Rolland, two French restaurateurs whose first eatery opened more than a decade ago in Cannes in the south of France.
They spotted the El Dorado a few years ago and soon set up plans to open a restaurant whose sophisticated interior takes you back to the early 20th century.
Le Petit Paris is open for lunch and dinner every day and for brunch on the weekends. The vibe is very European, with rows of black metal Parisian street tables in the main dining room, tiled floors and a very stately atmosphere. Tall black columns are topped with gold leaf.
The menu is decidedly French, with starters such as escargots dressed in garlic and parsley, duck foie gras, and oysters. One unusual touch for a French-inspired eatery are the several pizza selections on the menu, including one with truffles.
Main courses include steak tartar, spiced roasted cod, chicken stew and various lobster dishes as well as a good selection of steaks.
The large space, which seats 300, has a mezzanine with a bar and an outdoor patio to soak up the sun.
Please Do Not Enter
549 S. Olive St.
At first mention, the boutique name Please Do Not Enter sounds like a bluff.
Until recently, Please Do Not Enter was an appointment-only shop, almost hidden on the 12th floor of the historic PacMutual building by the landmark Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
Now located on PacMutual’s street level, doors are set wide open, and Nicolas Libert, the boutique’s co-owner, hopes that the general public will look inside and get to know the emerging designers and the artists offered.
The name of the shop is a riff off signs posted on museum entries when exhibitions change. Libert said that he has often felt like thumbing his nose at such signs and finding out what was new in changing spaces. Libert and shop co-owner Emmanuel Renoird think that independent retail should take inspiration from such an invitation to discovery.
“You have to bring something different. You have to bring something unusual to the forum,” he said. “Independent stores bring a special experience. … We try to build memories and emotions.”
For fashion, Please Do Not Enter’s special experience includes Denis Colomb. He’s a Frenchman working in downtown Los Angeles. His Fall/Winter 2015 styles feature clothes inspired by the Ndebele tribe in Africa and nomads in Central Asia. Also up is Jean-Paul Lespagnard, who Libert described as a new Gauthier.
The 2,000-square-foot boutique also offers homeware, jewelry, books and art. The boutique curates monthly exhibitions of new art. One new exhibition, started Nov. 11, was “Da Vetro, the Glass Collection,” which was produced by Italian communication research center Fabrica.
The glass collection was intended to be objets d’art and also functional pieces that could be used as a vase, glass or containers. The relation between functional design and the elevated level of art is a theme of every Please Do Not Enter exhibition.
“We are almost obsessed with everyday objects that become art pieces because of the material and the craftsmanship,” Libert said. Yasmine Mei, a Los Angeles floral designer, will create floral work around the Da Vetro pieces.
531 Jackson St.
San Francisco has gotten so trendy and techie that many people forget the days when it was a more laid-back city with a European twist.
Think old Italian eateries dotting the North Beach area, such as Vanessi’s with its tender osso buco, or wood-adorned restaurants with names such as Ernie’s or The Shadows perched high up on Telegraph Hill.
But the owners of Trestle, an outpost that recently opened in an old brick building once occupied by the 60-year-old Chinese restaurant called the Great Hunan, are reviving that quaint European air for which San Francisco used to be known.
Here is an eatery that is not only charming but affordable with a European-style menu for the dinner-only place. The restaurant, with its hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, offers only three-course, prix-fixe menus for $35 that change daily. For an extra $10, you can tack on a pasta dish.
Each course has two choices. On a recent evening, the Trestle menu offered appetizers of roasted red and golden beet salad or roasted sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) soup, main courses of pan-seared salmon or sausage-stuffed roast chicken and desserts of pumpkin cheesecake or chocolate devil’s food cake. The pasta supplement was either butternut squash risotto or polenta ravioli.
Bottles of wine are also reasonable, with most not priced for more than $50.
The five people behind this throwback restaurant are the same people who started Stones Throw, a California/American restaurant with a neighborly vibe in the heart of San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood, and Fat Angel, an informal restaurant and wine bar on O’Farrell Street.
The five—Tai Ricci, Jason Halverson, Jason Kirmse, Cyrick Hia and Ryan Cole—just might be re-starting a new San Francisco restaurant tradition.
678 Commercial St.
In 2013, Sydney Pfaff was laid off from her job as a copywriter. After picking up her severance check, she traveled the world to gain inspiration on what to do next. She found that she didn’t need to travel too far from her Bay Area home. In November 2013, she opened Legion. It’s a San Francisco boutique with an emphasis on independent California designers.
In her gallery-like shop, she found that being her own boss creates more headaches than her previous gig as an employee. But there are a lot of payoffs. “I’m surrounded by things that I love, and I get to share them with everyone who comes in,” Pfaff said.
She specifically gets to share news of California fashion lines in a neighborhood far from San Francisco’s well-trod fashion district such as Hayes Valley. Since moving to a new site in October, Legion has put down stakes on the border of San Francisco’s Chinatown and the Financial District. A mix of office workers, tourists and neighborhood residents find their way to Legion. “It’s a little more exciting over here,” she said of the real estate straddling two very different neighborhoods. “I don’t know what the day is going to be like.”
Here’s what shoppers have found recently at Legion: First Rite, a San Francisco–designed, Los Angeles–manufactured line;wrk-shp, also manufactured in Los Angeles using fabrics made in Japan; Ali Golden, an Oakland, Calif., line that recently opened a Los Angeles–area boutique; and Micaela Greg, which manufactures in Northern California. Legion also offers lines from around the globe, but California designers are keeping her busy. “Los Angeles and San Francisco are sparking a lot of creativity now,” she said.
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
One of the top tourist attractions in Las Vegas are the fantastic fountains that soar high in front of the Bellagio hotel, where an aquatic dance is set to music and highlighted by bright lights.
Now, a new restaurant at the Bellagio gives diners a fish-eye view of those fountains as they dine at the recently opened Lago restaurant, whose arched floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the fountains.
Lago, an Italian restaurant by Spanish award-winning chef Julian Serrano, replaces another Italian eatery, Circo, which had been serving up pasta in that spot for some 15 years. The old restaurant was heavy on tapestry and bright with circus colors while Lago is a sleek, modern ode to Italian Futurism.
The restaurant’s design, conceived by Munge Leung, feels like sitting in an Italian spaceship cruising over the earth’s seas. Lighting fixtures have a starburst quality and the ultra-white ceilings accented with white ribbons of light add an out-of-this-world vibe to the décor.
Serrano, a James Beard award-winning chef whose other restaurants in Las Vegas include Julian Serrano at the Aria and the Picasso at the Bellagio, designed his Milan-inspired menu to have a lot of small plates and a few large dishes.
Be assured, there is plenty of pasta and risotto to go around as well as a small selection of pizzas, but the bulk of the menu has a wide selection of seafood, vegetarian fare and meat all done with an Italian accent.
There’s the cannelloni with pulled short ribs and parmesan fonduta covered in tomato sauce, shrimp-mascarpone stuffed ravioli and red-wine risotto served with burrata.
Or there are the grilled lamb chops with garlic and rosemary; the branzino with capers, olives and tomatoes; and octopus with squid-ink couscous.
For the larger plates, expect to find the catch of the day served in a papillote, red wine–braised osso buco and a semi-boneless spring chicken served with a Meyer lemon sauce and grilled eggplant. There is also a good selection of steaks.
918 South Main St.
(702) 476 5704
Growing up in Las Vegas, Wil Eddins was tired of hearing that his hometown had no culture. After spending more than a decade working as a men’s buyer for e-commerce emporium Karmaloop in Boston, he developed a reply to those who think that Las Vegas ends at the casino district of the Strip.
Eddins opened Institution 18b on Nov. 9. It’s a 3,200-square-foot boutique, arts and events space located in a sprawling enclave called “18 Blocks” in Las Vegas’ Arts District. Also called 18b, the arts zone offers a neighborhood of independent retail ranging from restaurants to art galleries, tattoo parlors and boutiques in downtown Las Vegas, which is located more than five miles away from the Strip, and aims to serve up a different experience from the bling and noise of the casino.
At Institution 18b, the walls are lined with paintings from people such as Russ Karablin, the founder of popular streetwear and fashion brand SSUR. There’s also Jason M Peterson, an influential photographer and advertising executive, and Jamie Story.
On the steel tables and iron racks of the store are brands such as Alpha Industries, Dickies Construct, Maharishi, Timberland, Puma, Rizzoli Books, Publish, Pleasures, Stüssy and Eli Reed.
“I call it a Verge Culture Lab,” Eddins said of his store. “[People] will have access to all things cultural that we concoct; [we’ll focus on ] music, fashion, knowledge and art.”
100 E. 63rd St.
So, how many restaurants make their own butter? Vaucluse does, as well as its own pasta.
Even though this is primarily a French restaurant whose menu is dotted with lots of French words, pasta and butter are front and center. There are also a couple of dishes that hail from the United States, such as a burger dish and several rib-eye steaks grilled and served with French fries and various sauces of your choice.
But make no mistake, there is a French current running through most of the menu. For example, there is a filet de veau, which is a veal tenderloin served with foie grass, black truffle juice and a carmelized onion tartine.
Or there is noix de Saint-Jacques, which is seared sea scallops served with hazelnut butter, sorrel and sunchokes. Each day there is a plate of the day, such as coq au vin on Sundays and bouillabaisse on Fridays.
This Upper East Side restaurant is one of the fancier restaurants that has occupied this address. The eatery’s interior has been brightened by opening up the ceiling and adding Art Deco–style lighting and parquet floors. The white linen tablecloths paired with off-white upholstered chairs and booths add a sophisticated air worthy of coverage in Architectural Digest.
The men behind Vaucluse, the name of a region in southern France, are Michael White, originally from Wisconsin, and Ahmass Fakahay, who was born in Egypt.
Several years ago they formed the Altamarea Group, which has turned into a restaurant empire that has opened more than 15 restaurants. White is the executive chef, having studied with French greats Roger Vergé and Jacques Chibois. Fakahay has a financial background as the former co-president of Merrill Lynch but was enticed into the hospitality business because of his love for good cuisine.
157 Smith St., Brooklyn
The market for high-end sneakers is a boys’ club, and for Susan Boyle, owner of the Rime footwear and apparel boutiques, part of her job is to overturn perceptions of women and sneakers.
Starting business in 2007, her Brooklyn shop survived the Great Recession and she opened a second Rime shop in Manhattan in 2012. She collaborated with Reebok and Puma on designing shoes. (Her collaborations were Reebok’s “Diamond Ventilator” model, released in July, and Rime’s and Puma’s “Gold Luxe Wedge” in 2013). She also has spoken on a panel on sneaker history at the Brooklyn Museum. But many still scratch their heads when she introduces herself.
“I’m one of the few women in the business,” she said. “When I talk sneakers, everybody says, ‘Wow, you know what you’re talking about!’”
Boyle started her career selling men’s clothes such as Levi’s and worked up to head buyer for the New York sneaker and streetwear style emporium Michael K. She left that store to open up Rime. While she forecasts that sneakers will remain popular in the men’s market for a long time, the market for women and sneakers has just started.
“Girls love shoes. We are the biggest audience,” she said. “We pay thousands on pumps. Can you imagine how much we’d pay for something comfortable?”
Men and women start their wardrobes with shoes, she believes. So she also stocks a lot of apparel. It includes outerwear from Canadian brands Nobis and Canada Goose; streetwear from Obey, Stüssy and Diamond Supply Co.; and brands that go along with the colorful graphics of high-end sneakers.
After a career in boutique retail, streetwear and the sneaker biz, she advises retailers looking for the youth market to sell sneakers. “That is what brings kids in,” she said.
She also had this other advice for boutique retailers. “You’ve got to stay on top of new trends. You can’t be afraid of trying new things.” She said sneakerheads follow the high-end kicks market as obsessively as investors follow stocks. “It is hard to have a retail store. You have to be in tune with the customer. You have to have an online business. … You have to make an experience in the store,” she said.
1545 Collins Ave.
Even though the menu is centered around exotic eastern Mediterranean food, the new Byblos Miami restaurant in the hotel heart of Miami Beach is an import from Canada.
The owners of the recently opened eatery, housed inside The Royal Palm hotel, are just as exotic as the cuisine. Charles Khabouth is from Lebanon and Hanif Harji is from Tanzania. Together they have opened several restaurants in Toronto, earning them the nickname “the kings of the Toronto dining scene.”
The first Byblos opened in Toronto under the helm of executive chef Stuart Cameron, who now divides his time between the Byblos in Canada and the newer Byblos.
The restaurant gets its name from the town of Byblos, an ancient city on Lebanon’s coast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, where the village is known for its outdoor cafés and seafood restaurants with Middle Eastern flavors.
Byblos Miami takes its cues from some of those exotic dishes found in Lebanon and then puts its own twist on a spice-oriented menu that delights the palate.
The menu starts with “mezze,” or small dishes, which include eggplant kibbeh served with zucchini flower, chickpea batter and house yogurt or lamb ribs coated with a spice-nut-and-seed blend called “dukkah” and served with a hot Israeli sauce called “schug.”
The main courses are heavy on lamb, naturally, as well as seafood, this being Miami. The seafood dishes include Spanish octopus with fingerling potatoes, fresh crispy squid and roasted halibut served with a chraimeh sauce. One dish that has been raved about is the yogurt-baked fluke with toasted bread crumbs and walnuts.
The restaurant’s interior has vivid Mediterranean hues with bright turquoise and gold booths accented with white lamps. And the food is served on dishes stamped with a beautiful Moroccan print that looks as if they came from a Middle Eastern bazaar.
Sparkle + Shine Darling
1665 Alton Rd.
Celebrity retail will make an NBA-sized splash this month in Miami Beach.
Adrienne Bosh, wife of Chris Bosh, the power forward of the Miami Heat, is scheduled to open the Sparkle + Shine Darling boutique in the glitzy South Beach district. It has become the hot society story with South Florida media recently, with print, broadcast outlets and celebrity reporters interviewing the Boshes and their famous friends on the Sparkle + Shine Darling project.
Adrienne Bosh said that she was on a mission to make the world “a better, glitterier place.” The glitter and the bling can be seen in the place’s décor. The shop features bright chandeliers and a mirror with gold-colored frames. The store’s Personal Sparkle Advisors will counsel shoppers on getting that Adrienne Bosh look. Another important part of the shop is that it will offer events space for bachelorette parties and baby showers.
Adrienne said that she got the idea for the shop with an events space during her gala 29th-birthday party in Paris, which she celebrated with Chris and her girlfriends in 2014. During the celebration, her group dressed up and took in the sight of the City of Lights. For Adrienne, the mix of high-life, red carpet–style clothes and the camaraderie was heavenly. Her next step was to hopefully package that experience in with her shop Sparkle + Shine Darling.
2023 Greenville Ave.
One of the hottest up-and-coming areas in Dallas is known as Lowest Greenville, where new hip restaurants and food outlets are popping up all the time.
The latest eatery to parachute into this trendy neighborhood is Rapscallion, which serves up its own twist on Southern comfort cuisine that is accompanied by an extensive wine list and drink menu. Rapscallion bills itself as a neighborhood bistro, where the dining is casual and the food is down-home.
The forces behind the casual dining spot are owners Brook Anderson and his brother Bradley Anderson and executive chef Nathan Tate, who is dividing his culinary skills between Boulevardier, another raved-about Dallas eatery where he is the executive chef, and Rapscallion.
Rapscallion has a definite mid-century architectural vibe with brown banquettes lining the walls and wood-laminated tables with metal-legged chairs.
From starters to main dishes, the menu is loaded with different plates you would only find in the South. Appetizers include pork-belly cracklins, boiled peanut hummus with three-cheese pimentos and cornmeal-dredged house pickled vegetables.
Southern staples include crawfish hush puppies, hominy casserole and stewed okra that can be paired with corn-dusted catfish, spit-roasted Berkshire pork or boneless short-rib steak.
There is also freshly baked skillet corn bread served with duck confit and a fried whole rotisserie chicken.
8687 North Central Expressway
Sundance built a big business by making the work of unique artisans available through its catalog operation, headquartered in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, but for the past year it has been branching out, specifically through its bricks-and-mortar stores.
In September, the company opened a store in Edina, Minn. This month, Sundance held a grand opening for a store in Dallas’ NorthPark Center. It’s located on level two between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. California-based artists such as Chaan Luu and Calleen Cordero have been part of Sundance’s merchandise mix, which focuses on the style and the heritage of the American West, said Matey Erdos, Sundance’s chief executive officer.
“We have the privilege of curating distinctive, artisan collections, many items of which are exclusive to Sundance Catalog. We feel it is important to bring these collections directly to our customers, and the retail environment we have so carefully designed does so in a distinctive and captivating way.”
The stores will offer a rustic look. Erdos said that the bricks-and-mortar stores would feature reclaimed wood and “artisan” materials.
The stores will sell women’s and men’s apparel and footwear as well as jewelry, homewares and furniture. The company will be opening five physical stores in 2016. They will open in malls and on fashion streets, according to a company statement.