First & Hope Offers “Modern American Classics” [CLOSED]

  • Home
  • Food
  • First & Hope Offers “Modern American Classics” [CLOSED]
Restaurant Los Angeles

Renderings courtesy of First & Hope

Disney Hall is on the verge of gaining a new neighbor: First & Hope. The downtown supper club specializing in “modern American classics” is the vision of longtime downtowners Terry Brewer and Parker Martin. The semi-retired motivational speaker and toy company board member should debut First & Hope in March, assuming all goes well at a February 9 hearing.

GM Steve Springer, previously the VP of Operations for ABC Financial, was brought in to help develop the concept. On Wednesday, he led a tour of the space, which previously housed Promenade Ristorante.

Jeremy Ingram from Formula Design and the Narduli Studio architecture firm teamed on the space, which is designed to channel the ’40s and ’50s, but includes modern touches. You’ll find a 36-bottle Enomatic near the entrance featuring info scrolling LCD above each American wine. Sit under a chandelier on an oblong settee and drink wine while waiting for your table. Springer said there will also be a focus on handcrafted cocktails.

High-top banquettes divide the main room, which hosts 129 seats. Banquettes face a bar with a band shell shape and LED lighting. On the other side of the divide, you’ll find high top seating and four modern chandeliers crafted from glass rods. Outside, a 50-seat patio is forthcoming.

In back, an Art Deco cabaret space features sound-proof walls and glass doors. Springer anticipates Gypsy jazz musicians, Broadway performers from the Ahmanson and classical string quartets taking the 18-inch stage. You’ll also find a grand piano, decorative panels from a Pennsylvania power company, and behind the stage, an Art Deco fan pattern.

Memphis native Shelley Cooper survived a “Top Chef” style elimination challenge to become First & Hope’s executive chef. The management interviewed 75 candidates and brought in a dozen chefs to cook two-at-a-time for a food panel. They each had a $150 budget to make four dishes, including a modern interpretation of meatloaf. Springer said Cooper was the unanimous winner.

Cooper’s mother is from the Mississippi Delta and father is from the Blue Ridge Mountains. During our chat, she recounted memories of shopping with her grandmother at the farmers market for silver Queen corn; and firing up the charcoal oven to make biscuits and gravy. “Modern American comfort food is comfortable to me,” she said. Cooper’s approach was to “take the food I grow up with, take my chef experiences and do it in a younger, more modern presentation.”

The menu is divided into Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Expect dishes like Mac and Cheese “All About The Cheese” with three different cheeses, three different pastas and three different toppings. Moonshine Meatloaf ($22) is a ground chuck, foie gras and gin meatloaf wrapped in black bacon and served with pee wee potato and pearl onion hash, plus brown butter green beans. Hamburger and Its Helper ($16) incorporates beef and chorizo, fried green tomato, homemade pimiento cheese, watercress, pickled onions and Worcestershire ketchup on a homemade brioche bun. At brunch, the Short Rib Short Stack ($18) features rib meat layered with bone marrow breading pudding cakes topped with a sunny-side-up egg.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Yes I do, as there is no reason to climb the hill when so many options exist at the bottom of the hill or east of there.
And it is on the back side of the offices to the south and east, meaning on Hope and facing First, yet not on Grand. Sort of out of sight and out of mind.

I sense this menu does not appeal to the Music Center/Disney Hall crowd, but is aimed at the downtown residents, in which case the proximity to that residential base is quite distant. Hope they make it, but this is not a good first sign.


It’s interesting to hear you say that about First & Hope’s menu. Do you really think there’s that much of a disconnect between the top and bottom of the hill?

Leave a Comment