“A lot of the places we took inspiration from were exactly those restaurants,” said Liz Johnson, who acts as head alongside her husband, Will Aghajanian, and other partners, many of whom also work on the line. The couple also co-own the space.
Aghajanian, seated next to the open kitchen minutes before the start of dinner service, added a few more inspirational points: Keith McNally, River Café, Spago, Swifty’s, Contramar, Zuni Café. Johnson and Aghajanian, who wore their leader’s whites, raised Lucien in New York, a place they love, and like Lucien, Horses also has pencils and paper tablecloths, in case the muse strikes.
“It’s like the coffeehouse society…” Aghajanian said.
“…just a little, no no!” came a shout from a line manager to someone at the vegetable station.
“…and how can we create the right atmosphere for it, and let people be comfortable, so they don’t think it’s too stuffy.”
When we spoke on Sunday it was clear that Horses and his Cornish game female had become the most reliable redoubt of the week. Wednesday, Phoebe Saatchi—daughter of a British advertiser Charles Saatchi, who in the 80s bought YBA masterpieces by the warehouse load – hosted a dinner party with her husband, Arthur Yates, which took over the entire back room, with collectors and auction house rainmakers dotting every table. Bobby Flay sitting at the bar. Friday, Maritza Lerman Yoes, former social media strategist for Tesla and LACMA, took a shot in the back room. beck was there, just like Benny Blanco. On Saturday, Master Charlotte Lansbury Instagrammed a screenshot of Horses ResyOS, revealing that the waiting list for a table that night had 1,410 names.
“It’s crazy,” Johnson said of the request.
“I don’t even know how works,said Aghajanian.
“There’s hard work, and there’s also luck, and we had really good timing,” Johnson said. “After the pandemic, everyone was like, I want to fuck Party, I want to go out, I want to go out with my friends and everyone wants to go out and eat right now.
Away from the horses in the downtown arts district, Restaurant Manuela has become a reliable spot for Hauser & Wirth dinners…which makes sense since it’s owned by Hauser’s Iwan Wirth and his wife Manuela, the restaurant’s namesake, and housed adjacent to the gallery spaces. On the walls are sketches made at dinnertime by roster heavy hitters like Henry Taylor, Paul McCarthy, and Rachid Johnson.
Hauser will seek to replicate the pattern with its new boutique at 8980 Santa Monica Boulevard in downtown West Hollywood. When the gallery opens this fall, it will also have its own dedicated restaurant, perhaps one that aims to replace the nearby Dan Tana as the neighborhood’s reliable eatery.