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Hotels Hope to Be a Neighborhood Hang

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, November 12, 2009, at 06:23PM
Paul Rossi Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Paul Rossi, Director of Food and Beverage at L.A. Live's JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton.

Paul Rossi hopes 2010 will be the year he makes a lot of Downtown friends. As Director of Food and Beverage for the JW Marriott at L.A. Live, he sees locals as an important part of the clientele for the restaurants and bars he's preparing inside the hotel and condo tower.

"I know I need that mix," Rossi told blogdowntown on Wednesday. "I can't survive on just what's in house. I'm looking to be the place everyone wants to go to."

"Most hotels are not a destination for dining or even for cocktail lounges," said Rossi. "In Europe, they are. I think we're going back to that."

Rossi came to Los Angeles in September, having previously worked in Marriott's corporate offices on a project to redesign the function of its hotel and resort lobbies.

In that role, he had seen plans for the Downtown tower start to come together. Still, he was surprised to get on-site and find "the energy that's down here."

He said that he has enjoyed trying out Downtown restaurants, naming Bottega Louie, Provecho, Drago Centro and Church & State as off-campus favorites.

Rossi said that he expects hotel guests to try out other options beside what is in the building. "At big resports," he noted, "[guests] always go out one or two nights. We try to make it a great experience, but we know there are hot restaurants right outside our door."

The tower, which includes both a 878-room JW Marriott and a 123-room Ritz Carlton, will house two "signature" restaurants and a handful of lounges and bars. While full details for the offerings haven't been released, names and basics have started to trickle out in recent weeks.

L.A. Market will be on the tower's ground floor, with both indoor and outdoor seating. A celebrity consulting chef will be named within the next two weeks, but Rossi did mention that the eatery will sport a 64-bottle Cruvinet system for serving by-the-glass wines.

Also on the ground floor, the Mixing Room will be a classic cocktail lounge that will also offer a small plates menu.

Rossi said he's been impressed by the cocktail culture developing Downtown at venues like The Varnish, and Rivera. "I can't stay away from some of [Rivera's] cocktails," he said. "It's a bad deal for me."

The Mixing Room will seat over 200, which means there are a few concessions required. "There's a need for speed in our outlet," said Rossi.

Upstairs, a second celebrity chef will be involved with a restaurant and lounge on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton. That announcement could be a little longer coming.

Both restaurants will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A lobby lounge -- Glance -- and a poolside bar -- Ion -- round out the offerings.

Rossi will also be responsible for the in-room dining options for both hotels and the condos above. Each will feature different offerings, he said, with the residents receiving "highly customized" treatment.

The hotels and venues will be hiring staff in December, filling 600 positions. All are scheduled to open on February 15, 2010.


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