Every neighborhood needs some place they can count on to serve up good food, great drinks and atmosphere that draws a local crowd on a regular basis. The newly opened Spare Tire Kitchen and Tavern delivers on all accounts.
Locally owned by Windsor Square’s Paul and Melanie Boettcher, the new gastro pub had a soft opening last week to welcome old friends and customers who frequented the former El Toro Cantina.
Gone is the Mexican theme, and in came an eclectic, playful decor, with long communal tables and two-tops, soft ambient lighting, and a giant alligator clinging to the wall. The windowed front room, that opens entirely to the air and views of Wilshire Boulevard remains, and is a pleasure to sit at on a sunny day or warm evening.
Spare Tire looks to be a great spot for either lunch or dinner with an assortment of small plates, tartines, sandwiches and salads to choose from, and a flaming pizza oven on view in the back where pizzas are created and fired before your eyes. The shrimp-romesco-manchago-chili pizza was a refreshing burst to the mouth, while others like the prosciutto-red onion-argula-fig jam offering had other diners smitten at first bite. Entrees include Pork Belly with parsnip puree and pickled apple, a chicken pot pie, spaghetti and clams, fish & chips, and a grilled Hangar Steak.
The new menu has been created by chef Gavin Mills who was involved in opening Wood and Vine in Hollywood, Grass Fed in Chicago, and Boar Dough in Agoura Hills, after coming out of the south where he served as Executive Chef at Carolina’s Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. Trained in England, Mills worked numerous Michelin star restaurants with legends such as Chef Gary Rhoades and Chef Nico Ladenis. Chef Mills is known for his cured charcuterie plates.
The new pub has an extensive Whiskey list with small batch bourbons and Scotch Single and Blended Malts poured at $8 – 15 glass, and a fine assortment of draught and bottled beers, with a number of local and west coast speciality brews on tap. There is also an impressive wine list by the bottle or glass.
One favorite detail of the new restaurant is still the oldest aspect and one the owners have taken care to keep intact: the circular front window built as a camera lens, probably reflecting the building’s art deco history. The camera lens window frames a blue smidgeon of ocean, teaming with colorful fish, adding to the eclectic design mix of Spare Tire.
Editor’s Note: Buzz reader Richard Risemberg shared a link to the camera facade’s historic city landmark status and history on the LA Conservancy website. According to the site, the facade’s nine foot tall camera is a fine example of “programatic architecture” in which a building physically resembles its purpose, which originally was a camera shop called The Darkroom.Spare Tire Kitchen and Tavern 5364 Wilshire Boulevard Parking in the rear – $5 Valet at Night