When Stephanie Izard told a chef she knew that she planned to open an offshoot of her flagship Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat in Los Angeles, they had a warning: “You’re going to have to just put chicken on salad out there.” Would her Midwest, meaty, shareable dishes fly on the coast? Would gluten now be the enemy to her big bread program? Would she have to make healthier versions of her food?
Just a few days into Girl & the Goat LA’s soft opening—where she’s already serving a robust crowd of 350 people a night—her colleague’s prediction doesn’t hold. “Our goat liver mousse, we sell four times as many here a night as we do in Chicago,” Izard tells Robb Report. “People have misconceptions about what people in LA want to eat. People are down to try a whole bunch of things.”
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Izard, the first woman to win Top Chef, has packed people into her flagship Girl & the Goat for more than a decade and opened multiple concepts in the Windy City. But this project may be her biggest challenge. The LA Girl & the Goat will be her and her business partners’—Boka Restaurant Group—first time opening a property outside of Chicago. After being beset by delays, primarily from the pandemic, the restaurant has finally come to fruition–and now they have to see if they can translate their success from Chicago to LA.
Photo: courtesy Galdones Photography
Of course, the streets of LA are littered with out-of-town restaurateurs who had found success back home then fizzled out when they got to the City of Angels. Tartine’s massive Downtown LA project flopped (though their neighborhood cafes remain), Phoenix’s pizza master Chris Bianco struggled, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara couldn’t bring the LA NoMad to the heights it had achieved in New York, and Mexico City’s Maycoll Calderon’s Tintorera lasted less than a year.