Introducing On The Line, a four-part documentary shorts series by award-winning new media studio Crimes of Curiosity and Resy.
The series goes deep behind the scenes at four Los Angeles restaurants — Alta Adams in West Adams, Kensho in Hollywood, Lasa in Chinatown, and Kismet in Los Feliz — as they grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to have a crushing impact on the hospitality industry.
On The Line was produced by Crimes of Curiosity’s all-female production and creative team. The inspiration came when series director Danielle Oexmann and executive producers Jess Engel and Alexandra Hooven were having what would end up being their final meal at a restaurant (for some time) at Kensho. Governor Gavin Newsom had just announced the statewide stay-at-home order and the indefinite closure of restaurants. Kensho owner David Wynn told them: “This is going to change everything.”
In an instant, LA’s golden age of restaurants came to a screeching halt. The weeks — and now, months — that followed brought a historic crisis to the country. As part of that, restaurants were forced to fight to keep their businesses afloat, staff employed, communities fed, and dreams alive.
These are their stories.
Hollywood: 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Los Angeles. www.kenshohollywood.la
How to support: Kensho’s online store is open for pick-up and delivery, Tuesday through Sunday, with offerings such as wines, fresh breads, and ceramics. The patio is open for evening reservations, Wednesday through Saturday. For more details, see Kensho’s website.
Los Feliz: 4648 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. kismetla.com
How to support: Kismet Goods is selling groceries, wine, and other goods for pick-up from 12-8 p.m. daily. Kismet To Go is available for dinnertime take out from 5 to 9 p.m. daily. Kismet Rotisserie is open for takeout and delivery, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; call (323) 400-3700 or order online on Caviar or Doordash.
Chinatown: 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles. www.lasa-la.com
How to support: Lasa is open for first-come, first-serve dining on its 14-seat patio, Wednesday through Sunday. It is also offering takeout (including natural wines and beer to go!) and delivery (via Caviar, DoorDash, and Postmates). Pre-order and same-day orders are available. Text or call (213) 443-6163, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Adams: 5359 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. www.altaadams.com
How to support: Alta Adams is offering outdoor dining for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, and brunch on weekends; book a Resy here. Takeout is also available, including a sliding scale family meal that is part of the High Roads Kitchen Program, meant to provide food for low-wage workers, health care workers first responders, and others in need. Additionally, Adams Coffee & Wine Shop is open Thursday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
How to Help the Restaurant Industry
- Feeding America — Feeding America works with food banks across the country to provide food to people in need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even more need for food banks.
- Order’s Up — Make a single or continuous contribution to a restaurant to help keep it financially viable. They in turn will cook and deliver a meal to those in need.
- Frontline Foods — Donate money, fund local restaurants, and help feed hospital workers.
- Restaurant Workers Relief Program — The Lee Initiative works with restaurants across the country to provide meals for restaurant workers who have lost their jobs or are experiencing work disruptions.
- Independent Restaurant Coalition: The IRC has been fighting for the restaurant industry in Washington by urging Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act of 2020.
- High Roads Kitchens: These are independent restaurants, including Alta Adams above, that provide food on a sliding scale to low-wage workers, health care workers first responders, and others in need. Launched during the COVID-19 crisis, HRK provides jobs for restaurant workers and a subsidy for responsible restaurant owners who commit to paying a living wage and following equitable employment practices.
For more ideas and links, see Resy’s resources page.