Pig 'n Whistle Finalizing Plans to Return to Old Home in Fine Arts Building
A 1933 photo of the Fine Arts Building, showing Pig'n Whistle and Bank of America as the building's retail tenants.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — While the ink hasn't reached a contract, it looks like the Pig'n Whistle restaurant is set to make its return to Downtown, reopening in the Fine Arts Building space that it occupied between 1926 and 1952.
The move comes two and a half years after the eatery had been linked to that same space, a deal that eventually fell through. "The history in that space has always intrigued me," said Pig'n Whistle owner Chris Breed today. "I think it's my fate."
Breed and his partner Alan Hajjar were in talks to open in the Fine Arts building in early 2007, but those talks fell apart when the building decided to court another restaurant concept.
Discussions resumed after the 1926 structure was purchased by attorneys Brian Kabatek and Mark Geragos in 2008. A final lease agreement has not yet been signed, and is contingent on the approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the space.
Pig'n Whistle was founded as a Downtown candy shop in 1908. The first location was right next door to City Hall, then on Broadway between 2nd and 3rd.
The firm died out in the late 1960s, but in 2001 the Hollywood Pig'n Whistle was revived by Breed and Hajjar. The menu offers bistro cuisine, focusing on American and British classics. Breed said the 7th street spot would offer the same menu as the Hollywood location.
Inside, Breed plans to focus restoration efforts on the space's historic ceiling. He envisions an "old world feel" with dark wood and historically-authentic tiles, similar to the Hollywood decor.
Breed said he definitely wants to recreate the Pig'n Whistle blade sign found in historic photos of the building.
Timing for the restaurant will depend on when the Zoning Administration acts on the CUP application filed by the building. Filings for the space, which was most recently a McDonalds, shows plans for 157 seats indoors, 55 downstairs and 102 on a mezzanine level. 24 seats are included in a patio on 7th street. Often CUP plans represent a maximum build-out, so those numbers could well change in the design stage.