As the pandemic has forced restaurants everywhere to embrace outdoor dining and get creative, one Los Angeles mall has created a curious elevated (literally) dining experience.
The Grove, an open-air shopping center in the middle of LA, has converted it’s electric trolley to a dining car. Dubbed Bistro 1759, the pop-up restaurant started taking bookings last Wednesday, and will feature a four-course menu created by Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. With lunch and dinner reservations starting at $1,000, the meal includes the a 90-minute meander through the plaza, past the Apple Store and by the Madewell.
The menus can be personalized for the groups of up to 10, but will draw on the Blue Ribbon menu with dishes like spicy tuna on crispy rice, oxtail fried rice and sashimi—and the restaurant will also handle the wine and cocktail pairings.
For those unfamiliar with the Grove, it was developed by billionaire LA real estate titan Rick Caruso in 2002. Instead of a big box slapped down in the middle of the the sprawling metropolis—the kind of shopping centers that proliferated last century only to be abandoned en masse the last few decades—Caruso created a Disneyfied version of a walkable main street for a city that doesn’t really have one. Part shopping center, part uncanny valley, the Grove has become a massive hit for the developer, spawning smaller siblings like Palisades Village, an outdoor mall in a tony LA enclave Ronald Reagan once called home.
At the center of the Grove’s old-timey charm offensive are the fountain designed by the same group behind the fountains at Bellagio, the Art Deco-ish movie theater and the roaming trolley that now takes a starring role in the new dining experience. It’s built using the actual undercarriage of a 1950s Boston streetcar and operated by a conductor in throwback garb. The Grove will serve dinners on the trolley through the summer, with bookings available now.