Paul Tyler was starting to find success as an actor in the ’80s, but while he was in his trailer awaiting scenes, his mind kept drifting to John O’Groats, He returned to his family’s Westside restaurant and has been working to bolster its success ever since. He previewed an Encino outpost of John O’Groats to friends and family on Sunday, September 20. Now, pending final inspections, Tyler will open John O’Groats Grille and Pub to the public on Wednesday, September 23, drawing on a similar customer base and 4 million square feet of office space within a one-mile radius.
“My mom and dad created something for me to build on,” says Tyler, who currently owns and operates John O’Groats. He came to that realization over 6 years ago, and ever since, he’s been working to “give more to people, create more jobs for more people, create more for my family.”
In case you’re unfamiliar with O’Groats, it started back in 1982. Bob Jacoby had spent 17 years running Bit O’ Scotland in Westwood. The restaurant was successful, but since Bit O’ Scotland was open for lunch and dinner, he’d get home and his kids were already asleep; he’d wake up and his kids were already at school. Something needed to change, so when son Paul made the high school football team, Jacoby and wife Angelica decided to open a 20-seat restaurant called John O’Groats at Pico & Manning, serving only breakfast and lunch. They soon outgrew the space and moved two blocks down in 1984, to the current location, a former boutique. As O’Groats became increasingly popular, they incrementally swallowed up the adjacent video store and Viet-Thai restaurant.
The Encino location occupies the northwest corner of the new mixed-use Serrano Building, with 52 overhead apartments that are eligible for room service. The multi-room space features a pressed tin ceiling, tile floors, a U-shaped counter and an elevated bar. In all, the restaurant houses 170 seats, including a 45-seat patio shaded by a massive oak and surrounding office buildings. In back, there’s a private dining room, named the Cornell Room since that’s where Tyler earned his hospitality degree. A wall-mounted plasma screen near the entrance allows Tyler and his staff to interact with the West LA location.
Executive Chef Guillermo Umanzor worked at the original John O’Groats for 18 years, starting as a dishwasher. He now oversees a matching menu in Encino.
Other enduring specialities include a cornucopia of pancakes and savory Cilantro Potato Pancakes and Eggs ($11.95) with homestyle mashed potatoes, grilled onions, cilantro and grated Asiago cheese.
Later in the day, “American Classics” include Chicken Pot Pie ($11.95), Fish and Chips ($13.25) and Yankee Pot Roast ($15.95).
Tyler said fans of the West LA original shouldn’t worry about Chef Umanzor’s shift to Encino. Roberto Guzman and Francisco Sernas have assumed his duties, and they’ve both been working with John O’Groats for 15 years.
The new location has a full liquor license, and Jorge Ledesma will be overseeing the bar, which is back by a built-in flat screen TV that shows plenty of sports. Ledesma built the bar program at Edendale Grill from the ground up and more recently worked at MOZ Buddha Lounge in Agoura Hills. Once the license is approved in about three weeks, he plans to divide the cocktail menu into three categories: Classic Mixed Drinks (Mojito, Bloody Mary); Contemporary Mixed Drinks (Cosmo, Key Lime Martini); and Classic Cocktails (Sidecar, Sazerac, Old Fashioned). Expect 20 wines, including 9-10 by the glass, initially capped at $40. Ledesma’s mission: “find some value wines that are really tasty.” He’ll have 6 beers on draught: Guinness, Newcastle, Pilsner Urquell, Belhaven Scottish Ale, Pyramid Hefeweizen and Stone IPA. He also will have 6-8 bottled beers.
October 14, 2009 at 11:24 PM
Thank you very much to all our clients and future clients of John O’Groats, I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity to serve and waiting poderles your complete satisfaction is our menu.
Thanks again for giving me the opportunity me and my boss Paul Tyler, with whom I worked for 18 years old, to serve our customers. Atte. G. Umanzor
September 26, 2009 at 3:42 PM
have eating at o goats for 25 years on the westside …glad you finally made it to the valley
September 22, 2009 at 4:20 PM
Can’t wait to try the new Encino location. If it’s anything like the Pico Boulevard restaurant, it will be a winner! Friendly staff, delicious food, great atmosphere.
September 21, 2009 at 7:46 AM
Looks like it is going to be a great place. The decor looks inviting and comfortable and the pics of the food you are showing makes us hungry to see some more. Best of luck to everyone:-)
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September 20, 2009 at 8:54 PM
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by foodgps and Brendan Gormley. Brendan Gormley said: RT @foodgps: Preview of John O’Groats Grille and Pub in Encino http://bit.ly/2jYXBM — congrats to Paul and family […]