NOLA's Legendary Bacchanal Wine Bar is Coming to L.A. for One Day
Randy Clement grew up in uptown New Orleans, right along Constance Street. The avocado tree he planted as a kid still stands tall. Joaquin Rodas called home the San Gabriel Valley, the dumpling and noodle soup paradise just east of Los Angeles.
As they moved up the ranks of the restaurant world, the two traded turfs and eventually landed at two laidback restaurants with serious drink programs, Bacchanal in New Orleans for Rodas and Everson Royce Bar in Los Angeles for Clement.
They never bumped into each other along the way—that is, until Rodas sent Clement an email a few months ago.
“I knew of Bacchanal, but I didn’t know the people who ran it,” Clement says. “As soon as he was like, ‘We’re going to have Bacchanal come out,’ we had no idea what we were doing, but the answer was absolutely yes.”
“I love that the guys over there at ERB love having a party. That’s what we’re like, too,” says Rodas.
So, in a bit of an anomaly for the sort of anti-establishment, ultimate industry hangs of their respective cities, Everson Royce Bar is bringing Bacchanal for a one-day takeover on Sunday (and you’re invited; just email email@example.com).
Clement is busting out the propane grills and kegs of wine and beer for a nostalgic revival of the original Bacchanal, back when owner Chris Rudge peddled not-yet-trendy Old World wines, cheese and grilled treats in an unlicensed backyard space. Sundays at Bacchanal drew local chefs, like Pete Vazquez of Marisol when it closed after Hurricane Katrina, for one-off meals before the guest chef takeover trend. This is the first time Bacchanal is taking the party to L.A.
“I will say this is only the second time we’ve done this pop-up, but I’ve got a feeling about it,” says Rodas. “I’ve got a feeling that it’s the start of a long friendship.”
At ERB, he’s reviving Bacchanal oldies, like skirt steak with labne and strawberries, rockfish with fennel and romesco, baby octopus with saffron aioli—nothing “tricky.” (“People don’t like that,” says Roas. “We sell the most tripe of any place in New Orleans, but foie gras, nah, they don’t come to Bacchanal for foie gras.”)
And he’s already invited Clement, chef Matt Molina and the whole crew for a takeover at Bacchanal later this year, along with Tasty n Sons in Portland, Oregon, and Mission Chinese Food of New York City and San Francisco.
“We just want to continue to live in the never-ending party,” says Clement. “We want things that keep pushing the envelope into the bigger and bigger party.” And that’s just the Everson Royce Bar and Bacchanal way of life.