Nestled in Echo Park sits Bar Avalon and its sister store, EVE Bottle Shop. The newest project from Atlanta’s Revelator Coffee has opened under the eclectic
LA eye of Nathaniel Muñoz (previously at Venice’s Rose Cafe) alongside New York-style chef Joshua Guarneri, who has worked under April Bloomfield’s Hearth and Hound as well as The Breslin over at Ace Hotel in Manhattan.
The two have now come together in their first venture from the ground up in making their culinary vision come alive.
“We essentially wrote the bible on how this restaurant will operate and what we want to achieve. I want to be a neighborhood spot. I’m from LA. I’m an Angeleno. I need to make sure that where I am, I’m invested in the people and the community.”
Muñoz regales the idea of a multi-use spot, where there is reason to come anytime and for any occasion, saying, “We wanted to open up a place that people would come back to and have other reasons to return.” And the options there are limitless, opening at 9 for breakfast into lunch, then snack time from 3-5 before the dinner rolls in for the evening, with a stacked wine list to match with the eclectic offerings by Guarneri, including the likes of “prawns [that] are out of control!”
From dates to family outings, casual to elegant, the vibe of Bar Avalon sits pleasant smack in the middle of it with their cozy layout. This rings true inside as well as in their back patio, lined with fresh herbs Guarneri uses in every dish. He was beaming as he walked through naming each herb, plucking a leaf or sprig from each to sample. As proud as Guarneri is with his hand in the menu, so too is Muñoz with his wine curation.
Bar Avalon finally acquired their much-coveted liquor license after an operational run as a café for the last few weeks. What excitement that brings as Muñoz really stretches his legs into his sommelier passions. And that is evident from the array on the wine list in the restaurant as well as next store at Eve.
In Bar Avalon, the Americas shine, with selections only from North and South America, in tasting size and comparable prices, organized by geographic coordinates listed on the pink menu. Yes, a pink menu, the only component of Bar Avalon with that splash other than the bathroom doors. A compliment to the natural hues, greens and sages that permeate throughout the space, together they create a relaxed palette with some good ol’ blues playing in the background.
The name alone is ripe with meaning, from the wordplay of Avalon and Revelator to the local ties of Avalon as the main city on Catalina Island just off the coast. Even its history in Arthurian legend was something the duo kept in mind, as it is the mythical island King Arthur escapes to when healing from his wounds after battle. Bar Avalon seeks to recreate that restorative ambiance, where the darker, soulful qualities inside allow visitors to ease into the night. Partner that with the smoky-inspired menu, and you’ve got yourself a haven for slowing down and eating good food with a slew of wines to match.
Over at Eve, it’s all about elegance. The elevated, brighter, hedonistic, as Muñoz says: the sinful side of selections, and every wine a treasure. Temptation is brimming in both spaces, further tying into their mission to take Echo Park to an otherworldly experience, unlike the rest of the main drag along Sunset. “Everything in Echo Park screams lean, natural, healthy: Like, ‘Let’s forget about flavor!’ And to that we say, ‘Let’s feed people.’”
And the menu is no joke, with the intimacy of using one’s hands as a critical element of fun. “I definitely encourage finger food. What we’re trying to do is capture senses and the intimacy of food. As much as possible we want it to be finger food, in your face, forward flavor, highly aromatic.” The brunch menu’s “all day caesar with anchovied croutons” is one such fare, with the lettuce sectioned off as if it were to be eaten like a taco, the anchovy soaked croutons a wild mix of crunch and tang. Most of the brunch menu follows suit, with the likes of the scones, sticky buns, and Guarneri’s “sangwich” variety – an NY call out on the sandwich selections, including a breakfast sangwich, blt, and beef tongue reuben, all bursting with depth of flavor.
But if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, they also have overnight oats and a killer stone fruit grain salad with the textures as wild as the tastes. Muñoz lauds Guarneri’s style, “He makes as flavorful, as simple, and as layered an experience as possible here.” A menu to match the wines to match the atmosphere to match the mission.
And the rest will surely follow with each visit, as their patrons learn more and more about the intention and execution down to the baseball cards that come with each receipt, Dodgers signed by Muñoz, and Yankees by Guarneri. “We excite you on how to find things… you’re going to discover more each time because you’re always there. I want everyone to feel comfortable coming and asking over time.”
So I guess I shouldn’t give too much more away. But you should ask Muñoz about his serviette, a Dodgers design that his mother handmade for him, with MOM sewn into the corner. It’s those little details tied in with the overall atmosphere that make Bar Avalon really stand out amidst the other selections in Echo Park.
This is just the beginning for the duo as they share Bar Avalon with Echo Park, and more is sure to come.
“My goal is to share my enthusiasm for hospitality with not just people at this restaurant but hopefully the people in this community. I would love to use this as a model for how to create an ethos of culture, of cuisine, of food and hospitality.”
Bar Avalon is now open for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and for brunch on Sundays, with Eve’s hours from 10-10 every day except Monday.