Since Scarpetta, Fig & Olive, Bagatelle, Bouchon, and the crew from New York’s Kingswood have all turned L.A. into their playground over the last couple of years, we’ve still had the Bazaar to point to as our own, homegrown top-tier restaurant (even if the chef is from Spain, via Washington, D.C.). José Andrés’s restaurant in the SLS Beverly Hills has been unique to L.A. since its opening, giving the city a nationally noticed stunner to puff up its chest over. But could this all change as the Bazaar’s owners, Hollywood hospitality company SBE, look to expand their brand to new markets?
The Huffington Post digs into long-festering whispers that SBE could plunk a location of the Bazaar down in D.C., where Andrés already has five restaurants, including Jaleo and MiniBar, but no Bazaar. The rumors are bolstered by SBE’s launch of an SLS Hotel in Miami’s South Beach next year that will feature the first Bazaar location outside of L.A.
By now we know Andrés is hardly opposed to a widespread expansion plan, as last year he took Jaleo and a new concept, China Poblano, to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and his next project is an unnamed restaurant coming to a Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico at the end of 2012.
So far, Andrés’s own ThinkFoodGroup only says that it is open to all kinds of new opportunities, but also states they "have no news to report at this time on a Bazaar by Jose Andres coming to Washington, DC." However, the Washington Post follows up on Andrés’s 2009 statement that a D.C. Bazaar "could happen" by going to SBE directly this week.
While no location has been settled for an SLS of D.C.’s own, company spokesperson Robbie McKay clarifies that, "Trying to bring the SLS brand to D.C. is a priority for us … The D.C. market is one we’re very eager to be a part of … It’s definitely a market we’re very, very interested in."
With the Bazaar popping up in South Beach and an SLS Hotel potentially making its way to a number of other markets in the future (including, it seems, D.C.), the only thing that appears truly clear is that the whimsical tapas restaurant won’t be an L.A. exclusive much longer.