La Cienega Boulevard, a prominent Beverly Hills arterial connecting El Segundo Boulevard and the Sunset Strip, is known for its design quarter and a plethora of celebrated eateries, which have earned it the nickname Restaurant Row. Among many options, Indonesian-inspired steakhouse Hutchinson Cocktails & Grill embodies an East-meets-West spirit of duality between art and cuisine.
The restaurant was conceived by owners Ian and Justin Hopper as a culinary homage to the life and expeditions of their grandfather, Richard Hutchinson Hopper, the establishment’s namesake.
Known as a “modern Indiana Jones,” Hopper and his wife Renee traveled extensively throughout Indonesia and Southeast Asia; their stories and recipes inspired their grandchildren to commission design team Scott Sullivan and Tima Bell of locally based Relativity Architects to immortalize his legacy in restaurant form.
“Mr. Hopper had been something of an amateur photographer during his travels,” Sullivan explains. “From each photo, Ian and Justin would spin a tale that seemed almost cinematic. Luckily, along with the photographs he documented or kept an artifact from every stage.”
Sullivan and Bell strove to achieve a contemporary aesthetic using these materials, while avoiding as much as possible a theming of the space. To overcome this challenge, the team approached the design like museum curators making their selections within a framework of historical context. “It’s very easy to fall in love with the ornamental nature of Southeast Asian design, and in our initial schematics we probably went too far with it,” says Bell. “But good design is a process of refinement.”