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L.A. Brewing Company Bringing 100 Beers to Broadway

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Tuesday, February 01, 2011, at 03:06PM
Ralph Verdugo Eric Richardson

Ralph Verdugo stands outside the future home of the Los Angeles Brewing Company, which he is working to open at 8th and Broadway.

While construction has not yet begun for Broadway's Umamicatessen and Two Boots Pizza, just up the street, L.A. Brewing Company's owner Ralph Verdugo is working furiously to open his new restaurant next month.

Located at 8th and Broadway on the ground floor of The Chapman—a building that once housed the first offices for Bank of America—L.A. Brewing Company will offer beer lovers a spot where they can enjoy a full menu, outdoor dog sitting, and a place to kick back after the weekday grind.

"I didn't want to do the whole Hollywood or Beverly Hills thing," Verdugo says. "You've just got to go with Downtown."

Verdugo is definitely going with Downtown: L.A. Brewing Company is his second Downtown endeavor. He opened Club 740 next door in 2005.

As a pairing to the eatery's 100 beers on tap—served at a chilly 22 degrees—Verdugo has hired a celebrity chef to design the menu. "When people are watching the game, they can eat the finger foods," Verdugo says. "Or they can come for dinner and have a wonderful meal."

Offerings are to include steaks, burgers, signature salads, bread baked on the premises, and "ceviche Sundays."

And for the Downtown dog devotee, the restaurant plans to feature a ten-foot-by-ten-foot gated lawn area near the front entrance for a "dog check." "Someone will give you a ticket, you give us your dog and go inside and have a good time." Verdugo said.

Drawing inspiration from Downtown's unique theaters and buildings, Verdugo is staying true to the space's 100-year-old architecture as much as possible. "So many restaurant owners cover everything up," he says. "It's easier, less expensive. But when you have something so beautiful, you just can't."

Verdugo plans to refinish the original bank tile flooring and install the bank's original lights over the upstairs bar, which will feature cocktails made with fresh, organic fruit.

Construction began three months ago, and Verdugo has workers renovating the space around the clock. Unlike some Downtown restaurant owners whose openings have been slowed, Verdugo says progress has been rapid.

"The reason we are moving so fast is pretty much thanks to the [Central City Association]," says Verdugo. With the Restaurant and Hospitality Express Program the group pushed, "they grab you by the hand and take you through everything."

The CCA can't take all the credit for Verdugo's speedy construction process, though. He also thanks Councilman Jose Huizar, Chapman owner Fred Afari and the building's developer, Mark Farzan. "They are strong believers like I am in Bringing Back Broadway," said Verdugo. "We had their blessing and went full force."

L.A. Brewing Company / The Chapman / 756 S. Broadway

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