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Meet Patti Peck of BEACHWOOD CAFE

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patti Peck.

Patti, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a native of Indianola, Iowa, and began cooking almost as soon as I could walk. Raised on my grandparents’ working farm (cattle, hogs, corn, soybeans), as early as age five, I helped make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 30 farmhands. Years later, I honed my culinary skills in the San Francisco Bay Area, training under world-famous Alice Waters at Chez Panisse.

As co-owner and executive chef, I was responsible for the stylish Edendale Grill in Los Feliz, revamped from a run-down firehouse into a charming local hangout. I was also owner and chef of the much-beloved Millie’s Cafe in Silver Lake, which served healthy, hearty food with a punk-rock sensibility.

In 2002, I was recognized as Small Business Woman of the Year by California State Senator Jack Scott. For the Edendale Grill, the Los Feliz Architectural Society honored me for “Best Adaptive Re-Use Building.” I was also recognized by the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly as a talented chef and restaurateur.

After leaving the Edendale Grill in 2007, I worked as a private chef and thought I had gotten out of the restaurant biz for good.  But low and behold the Beachwood Cafe came my way and I knew how special this place should be so I took it on in 2012; completely gutting it and got my architect friend Barbara Bestor to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. She won Best Restaurant Design for us in 2013 from AIA, American Institute of Architecture and Dwell Magazine.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Haha, Is it ever a smooth road? I wonder if there is anybody out there who has had a smooth road (and if there is, are they so beige?? do they have a pulse?) I was a teenage runaway at 15 years old and found community in restaurants, so I stayed.

Restaurants are a fascinating microcosm and have a tendency toward collecting all the lost luggage in our society. These are my people. My struggles were how to manifest my ideas without money. And how to make and foster community in whatever I was doing.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the BEACHWOOD CAFE story. Tell us more about the business.
Beachwood Cafe is my latest venture and continues my goal of creating and anchoring community. It’s so cool how a simple food joint can do that. We make everything from scratch; we make our own pickles, jam, and yogurts, among most menu items.

Beachwood Canyon is a time bubble and you can feel it when you’re up here.  It feels like a small village set inside a global city.  People ride their horses down from  Sunset Ranch, tie them up to the trees out front and come in for lunch. I often see deer at night when I’m going home…so we try to keep that magic going by having community events like movie night in the parking lot, a summer Fairy Festival for the kids, Halloween Costume Contest, Easter Egg and Treasure  Hunts, Bingo and just last Monday we had The Hollywood Orchard’s Band of Singers performing a Christmas pageant.  All for free and open to the public.

I am most proud of the kids who consider the cafe their place. We have watched them growing up during the last six years, and it’s the highest praise that the cafe is woven into their lives and stories of their future.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
My brother always says “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I am so dang lucky. Always have been. Do not play poker with me, you’ll just get mad and then poor.

I am so lucky through all my messiness in figuring out my life and business that the process happened organically and I was handed opportunities that gave me a way to grow up  and have a principled life. And that I didn’t fall on my face so badly that I couldn’t get back up again.

I started my first business when I was 18 years old with zero money and ran The Mercury Arts Center for two years. I don’t know if that would be possible today.  So lucky.

So lucky that when I was a teenager on my own there were social programs so I didn’t fall through the cracks.  I worry about the youths today who are at risk because most of those social programs have gone away.  We have an internship program at the cafe for foster kids and I volunteer at LA Kitchen which runs a phenomenal occupational program.  It’s important for me to give back because so many people helped me along the way.

Pricing:

  • Breakfast $7 – $13
  • Lunch $9 – $19
  • Hollywood Memorabilia Cups  and other swag $10

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2695 N Beachwood Dr. Los Angeles, Ca 90068
  • Phone: 323-871-1717
  • Website: www.beachwoodcafe.com

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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