There are Angelenos among us who go straight to a New Yorker when something needs fixing. Just ask the teams responsible for bringing us Bill Bratton and Joe Torre. Duke’s West Hollywood, which sprang from Duke’s Coffee Shop, the 1968 diner at the Tropicana Hotel famous for serving Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Tom Waits, now has New York City’s Adam Newton on its side as a co-owner with Kelly Li, and he’s helping to give the place an overhaul.
Newton started out on the management side of restaurants, helping The McNally Brothers to open Restaurant 44 in New York and Miami’s Blue Door before opening Cafeteria as a partner, with Tyler Florence in the kitchen, and The Carriage House on his own. He tells Grub Street that he visited L.A. a few years ago “and ended up staying,” later opening an L.A. version of Cafeteria, Kitchen 24. Feast tells us that Newton is adding sustainably-sourced dishes and nostalgic decor to this old fogie, which will remain open during the redo. But it’s what’s upstairs that might really, (groan) “light your fire.”
According to Eater, Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself used to live in an apartment upstairs, so Newton is helping to create a Jim Morrison-themed bar in the space. The lounge, to be called Morrison Room or Morrison’s for short (Soul Kitchen didn’t work?), will not be a Hard Rock Cafe or Rolling Stone-style museum of leather pants and gold records, Newton swears, but an homage to the early days of The Sunset Strip when Sneaky Pete’s and The London Fog ruled the street, well before The Roxy showed up. Newton tells us his staff has a lot of connections to the era and he has even peaked the interest of a few surviving Doors to come in and check the place out.
Having once been to a really cool Klaus Kinksi-themed bar in his childhood home of Sopot, we’re not completely opposed to a Jim-inspired spot, especially if it doesn’t hit us over the head with his old garments. Just don’t expect any appearances from The Lizard King himself. Everyone knows by now that he prefers loitering in the bathroom of Beverly Hills’ Mexico Restaurante.