Connie and Ted’s Striking Design Is As Hot As Its Menu
Always known for its celebrity hangouts, this corner of West Hollywood has been transformed with star-quality design and cuisine.
The northeast corner of Havenhurst and Santa Monica in West Hollywood has always been known as the location for one of L.A.’s most storied eateries. First it was Theodore’s Café, and in the '70s you’d find stars there like John Lennon, Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Then in the late '80s it became the Silver Spoon, and while there were no noticeable updates, it still attracted celebs like Martin Landau, Shelley Winters and Roseanne.
Fast-forward to 2011, and the same old decor was deteriorating — when it closed in December of that year, about the only stars who would really miss it were Sally Kirkland and Robert Forster.
Enter L.A. culinary superstars Michael Cimarusti and Crisi Echiverri of Providence, widely acknowledged to be in the upper echelon of L.A.’s finest dining circles. The restaurateurs had always wanted to try their hand at a more casual, East Coast-style seafood eatery, and they were savvy enough to partner with Craig Nickoloff, who founded the Claim Jumper chain. They knew that WeHo corner could be a gold mine, but what to do with the shabby, termite-riddled structure that loomed there?
That’s where architect Douglas Pierson of (fer) Studio LLP came in. He designed a stunning modern structure with an overhang and façade that suggest a clamshell from one angle, a wave from another. Using natural wood and bright colors, it’s the most striking structure to go up in West Hollywood in quite some time.
And the visual delight continues inside. “We had the concept of absolute transparency,” says Echiverri, the manager and co-owner who heads up marketing. “Seafood requires absolute freshness, so you can see right into the restaurant through the glass front, and into the open kitchens and the storage areas."
They were able to do this without sacrificing the quaint feeling of the classic clam shacks, oyster bars and fish houses that Echiverri’s husband, Cimarusti, enjoyed with his grandparents, Connie and Ted, on the East Coast.
Needless to say, that couple is the restaurant’s namesake. Ted passed away on Jan. 1, 1996, “and now fishes in that great ocean in the sky.” Connie, on the other hand, is 94 and oh so proud of her grandson, who has created this tidal wave of success in her name.
Cimarusti, who originally moved to California from the Eastern Seaboard to work for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, before moving on to downtown’s Water Grill, has added many clever touches to the decor as well as the menu. For example, he’d been collecting shellfish delivery tags for more than seven years, and decided to use them to paper a couple of walls in the restaurant. They make for highly entertaining reading while you dine.
Drool Over More Connie and Ted's PhotosView All 8 Photos
And speaking of dining, there’s a wicked-good menu that includes a raw bar and favorites like chowder, Oysters Rockefeller, a New England boiled dinner, fried clams and calamari, fish and chips, lobster roll and shellfish marinara, just to name a few of the offerings. Then there are creative daily specials and sides. Those who are not seafood fans can get a fine burger or steak. There’s also an admirable wine list and full bar.
It’s a good thing the shell-like overhang, which, according to Echiverri, is a supreme feat of modern engineering, considerably expands the outdoor seating capacity. In total, the restaurant seats about 150, and it’s been pretty much packed from lunch through dinner since it opened. Reservations are suggested.
Find out about menus, hours, reservations and location by visiting ConnieandTeds.com.