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Meet Nick Shipp of Upper West Restaurant in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Shipp.

Nick, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve ground my way through the culinary scene, starting as a dishwasher and working my way to where I’m at now to the shigrin of my mother, I’m a culinary school dropout!!! Being a former heavy metal drummer turned chef, I guess my creative juices have always been flowing.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road of any chef is never easy. You sacrifice tons of family and free time for your career, which is incredibly tough and not always fair to those around you.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Upper West Restaurant – what should we know?
Locally owned and operated, Upper West opened its doors in 2010 and not long after it’s arrival on Pico Boulevard has emerged as a local favorite. Upper West’s ever-changing menu draws inspiration from around the world while maintaining eclectic flavors of our very own.

Our bar offers a nightly happy hour from 5-7pm as well an all night happy hour every Monday that serves refreshing craft cocktails, handcrafted beer and a unique array of small bites that can only be enjoyed during this time frame. Some of the local favorites happy small bites are braised pork belly lettuce wraps, sausage and goat cheese quesadilla and lamb nachitos.

Our lunch and dinner menu is always evolving and includes ingredients sourced locally from the Santa Monica Farmers market as well as local farmers such as Weiser Farms, Niman Ranch, Jimenez Family Farm and Harries Berries. Our chef, Nick Shipp, has been described by food critics as a “mad scientist, where no two dining experiences are ever alike.”

Our wall decor changes regularly, as we host one local artist for each season of the year. Make sure you come and celebrate them at our quarterly art openings.

Every month, Chef Nick gets to show off his culinary talents with a special pairing dinner co-hosted by select liquor brands who will walk you through each of the individual tasting notes in accompaniment with each course. We offer whiskey, gin, and wine dinners, with a small intimate group and we always have a great time!

Upper West values community involvement as well as participating and supporting local charities in Santa Monica such as LLS, Breast Cancer Awareness, Venice Family Clinic, Planned Parenthood and the local schools.

Upper West is the perfect place to book large reservations for 20 or more guests and is an excellent private party venue for hosting corporate events, birthdays, anniversaries, holiday festivities, rehearsal dinners and more.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I think for me my wife who put up with my crazy schedule and my kids that are always impressed by what I do are really the driving force that keeps me going!!!

In the culinary world, my mentor chef Clark McDaniel from Texas is without question one of the reasons I am where I’m at food wise. His style and approach are something I have taken and continue to use every day. I owe him a tremendous amount of gratitude.

My brother’s from another mother, Bruce Kalman and Duff Goldman always keep me laughing. Those dudes are nuts and are a big piece of my world as well.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: @THEUPPERWEST
  • Facebook: THE UPPER WEST
  • Twitter: @THEUPPERWEST
  • Yelp:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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