The Art of Creating the Right Ambiance at Top LA Restaurant
When it comes to having a successful restaurant in Los Angeles it’s not enough to have delicious food, you have to create an entire experience that ensures the customer will come back for more. The first step is making sure the restaurant’s design evokes the right mood. When lifelong friends Kevin Meehan, former Patina chef, and Drew Langley, former Providence wine director, decided to open Kali Restaurant, a small eatery tucked in between Hollywood and Larchmont Village, they wanted to give diners a high-end experience without the pretension you often find at other fine dining locations across Los Angeles. This also translated to the art they selected, and Clara Berta’s large, abstract paintings were a perfect match for the upscale, yet accessible feel they wanted for the interior design of the space.
Finding the Art
Kevin first discovered Clara’s art when she hosted one of his private pop-up dinners, known as Kali Dining (the inspiration for Kali Restaurant), at her Downtown LA loft. The two became fast friends and the chef even took a painting class with her to discover his inner artist. When it came time to open his passion project, Kevin didn’t hesitant to reach out to Clara to find pieces that would complement not only the design, but also help convey the mission of his new culinary adventure. The artist was delighted to create paintings that would welcome diners to her friend’s restaurant.
Making a Connection
When you enter Kali’s bar area, Clara’s large, mixed media art practically pops off the walls as the mix of vibrant turquoise, cobalt, navy, white and a bit of red provide an exciting contrast to the restaurant’s predominately cream tones. This creates a calming yet energizing effect which along with the paintings’ textured layers of blue brings to mind the ebb and flow of the nearby ocean, a popular local destination for Angelenos and tourists alike.
Conveying Your Message
The title of Clara’s paintings, Magical Encounter and Spring, also speak to the vibe of the space. Kali prides itself on being a neighborhood spot for people from all walks of life which opens the door for those who may not normally interact to meet and enjoy good food together for a real life magical encounter. Spring ties into the restaurant’s menu which focuses on local and seasonal farmer’s market ingredients to create fresh, California cuisine with a contemporary twist. The enables diners to go on a true culinary journey instead of an “all flash, but no substance” experience that frequently happens at other trendy LA restaurants.
It’s tempting to find a label that applies to Meehan and Langley’s very personal project — the laid-back neighborhood gem, the freewheeling chef’s counter, or maybe the ambitious temple of haute cuisine — but it’s probably more accurate to simply call it a well-polished restaurant. —Garrett Snyder, LA Weekly
Attention to Detail = Success
This attention to detail to make sure every element, from the food to the decor to the location, conveyed the high-end yet accessible tone they wanted to achieve led to Kali’s successful opening in 2016. The restaurant was named one of top ten new restaurants by Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly and boasts a loyal following of patrons eager to taste the newest items on their ever-changing menu. While at first glance the art that hangs in a commercial space may not seem to play a crucial role in helping people understand the goal of a business, it provides one of the first visual clues customer sees as they walk in the door and is also a subliminal message that sinks in as the diner spends time in the space.
About Kali Restaurant
Opened in 2016 by former Patina chef Kevin Meehan and former Providence wine director Drew Langley, Kali is a top LA restaurant offering contemporary California cuisine using only locally sourced ingredients. Kali is located on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, California, and is open for lunch and dinner.
About Clara Berta
Clara Berta is a passionate, award-winning abstract artist of Hungarian heritage. Her dynamic, highly textural abstract paintings have been exhibited in the United States and collected worldwide. In addition to exhibits across the US, Clara’s work has been featured in film and television including CBS’s Two Broke Girls, Bravos’ Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, Disney’s You Again, Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, ABC’s The Catch, and the indie TV film Broken Links. Her art has also been seen in LA Weekly, Singular Magazine, Culture Trip, Downtown News and other publications.