Echo Park’s The Whisperer to open Thursday with a “vintage radio style”

Storefront ReportECHO PARK — After being shut down for more than a year, the former Red Hill restaurant on Echo Park Avenue is scheduled to reopen on Thursday as The Whisperer, which will feature a “vintage radio style” as well as a late-night kitchen open until 1 a.m. every day.

Co-owner Dion Antic has spearheaded the makeover of the space at the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Montana Street. The former Phoenix Bakery building was converted into Red Hill in 2011. But Red Hill closed abruptly at the end of December 2014. Since then, passersby have been curious as to what’s been going on as the building was repainted black and the words “Secrets Told Here …” written on the side of the building.

Antic, who has run and remade restaurants in Chicago, said in a press release that patrons at The Whisperer will be able to buy wine by the glass and bottle, with drink prices ranging between $7 to $14.  Several craft beers will be available on tap and by the can.

There will also be music to drink by, with Piper Ingram curating play lists and hosting shows from an upstairs studio.

For the food, Antic has teamed up with Jennyfer Rodgers and chef Al Gordon of Community restaurant in Los Feliz to come up with some new takes on comfort food. Menu items include a $14 patty melt made with brisket, chuck and sirloin and the $17  Lemon Butter Pasta with Chicken – a signature dish from one of Antic’s former Chicago restaurants, IGGY’S.

So, what is “vintage radio style”? Echo Park will soon find out.

Pre-opening party | Shaugn & John Photography

Pre-opening party | Shaughn & John Photography

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. Seems like a misguided attempt to bring some midwest douchebaggery to Echo Park. Wine paired with albums – so tacky.

  2. As an Echo Park resident I wish them success, but the overall design, both inside and out, looks horrendous. What’s especially bad is the red foil on the Windows, I assume the intention was to make the inside more cozy, but instead that makes this already small space claustrophobic on the inside and not very inviting from the outside.

  3. I’m excited to check it out! Looks fun and the prices seem pretty good. Welcome to the hood and good luck!!!

  4. It looks as though they might be going for a 1990’s The Derby sort of look and vibe. With the young people who are of bar going age having been born in the early to mid 1990’s a place like this that would feel retro and dated to people a little older will likely feel fresh and new to the younger crowd. It just might be a hit with them. Heck, they might even attract some older nostalgia seekers.

  5. I came here mostly for the salty comments.

  6. Gone in 6-9 months.

  7. I love how supportive EP residents are of a new business coming in! having lived here for just the past 11 years, I remember how that building sat empty for years prior to Red Hill. I am glad to see something finally back in it’s place. Hoping to check it out this weekend. And, I think the windows are to keep the light out from Little Caesar’s. that was always a problem with Red Hill. Cheers to a creative solution.

  8. I am not the target demo, I’ll grant you, so the owners may be happy to hear that I would not be caught dead in a place that has “Secrets Told Here” painted on the outside. Never. It is a 100% deal breaker. Does that qualify as salty?

  9. Not to mention, NOTHING (especially secrets) can be told here as it is a BOOMING space

  10. so hey hater trolls, don’t go to the restaurant. or open your own that is cool enough for you. i am just glad something finally opened up there. i loved the red hill.

  11. I nominate “Secrets told here” for this year’s “Urban taco fabricator” award.

  12. Nice to have new business opening up but until people are responsible enough to leave their car at home, or have a designated driver – it’s tough to cheerlead. Second time in less than a year my cars been hit overnight by someone stumbling out of a local bar / restaurant. Another 500 buck deductible and a weeks rental while it’s fixed.

    Hard to believe how tolerant we are of drink driving. It’s just property damage for me this time, thankfully.

  13. This palce sounds like complete garbage. Who is, Piper Ingram? And what makes him/her the master of ceremonies? Oh… an iPod shuffle.

  14. I’m very supportive of new business but in return they must be at least smart. It’s been proven time and time again that restaurants with those kind of prices do not do well here. The clientele just doesn’t exist. Doesn’t anyone do research before opening up? I wouldn’t be surprised if the doors are shut in a year or two.

    • The last thing this neighborhood needs is another “artisanal” concept eatery/winery for the “artisanal” types who are already too thick on the ground. What belongs there is a “Curry in a Hurry” type place serving up huge, delicious, nourishing low-priced takeout and casual-eat-in to grateful multitudes.

  15. I hope they have decent vegan options!

    • If they want to stay in business they had better realize that having vegan items that are a feature, not an afterthought, is a necessity around here. Coming from Chicago/ the Midwest where a veggie burger is a beef burger with more vegetables than just tomato and iceberg lettuce on top they might not be aware of this.

    • Agreed. Kind of shocked they’re promoting a restaurant in Echo by way of their meat dishes.

  16. Echo Park doesn’t seem to love the themed bar/restaurant that is Lost Knight. I wonder if this will work. Not posing that in a critical way, just asking in a “is this a neighborhood staple or destination?” kind of way.

    • Elizabeth, you’re totally right. It’s like nobody does research before opening a business. Yes, people will come in from other neighborhoods but your lifeblood is the neighborhood you’re in. Red Hill didn’t work. Lost Knight isn’t working. And I doubt this will work. Downtown/West Hollywood menus just don’t fly here. It’s not rocket science. People can yell about gentrification all they want but at the end of the day Echo Park is still a working class family neighborhood and new business owners need to respect that or sadly fail.

  17. WOW…….This guy should pack his bags and head back to the windy city….

    Here’s a quote from Dion Antic (the co-owner of this spot) in Huffington post….if you want to read the full article, click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/my-chicago-dion-antic-on-_n_923403.html

    “What do you love about Chicago?
    I like Chicago’s diversity. I like its neighborhoods. I like its dining. I find Chicago to be a really unique city. I love the lakefront. People here are real. They get things done. If we say we’re going to do something, we do it. You don’t have that sense of work ethic or that sense of drive on the West Coast. When you wake up, and it’s 82 degrees and sunny every day, you don’t know a hard day. All you really know is that its 82 and sunny. In Chicago, we know hard days. We know days that are 25 below. When we have a 40-degree day, it’s like “Woo hoo! That’s great.” When it’s constantly around 82 and sunny, they don’t get it. They don’t have that edge, and you need that drive, that desire to get it done. Also, I’m known here. In L.A., you’re also as important as the last thing you did. Chicago’s got savvy, it’s clean, it’s nice, there’s a lot going on.”…..

    • Welp. That settles it for me. I’m never stepping foot in the place.

    • StopDumpingInCrosbyLane

      Great find with the article. Echo Park needs more places like Ostrich Farm and Masa and less like Lost Knight. I was very sad to see Red Hill go, I think they had a great menu and nice atmosphere. I have to say I’m not feeling too excited about this place, but the idea of a late night food menu is one aspect that is needed in the area, especially for those who work late and appreciate some good takeout or dining spots post 10pm.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who dislikes the Lost Knight. The owner tried chatting up my partner and I the first time we went there (to see a friend’s band, otherwise we’ve avoided it) and he was really trying hard to convince us that $18 fish and chips aren’t a rip off. His suggestion of “well, they’re cheaper at happy hour” made me decide to never go there again. So snobby, so overpriced, so out of touch for the area.

        Masa is a gem and the owners actually give a you-know-what about the neighborhood. I mean, they’ve been here 10+ years; they’re hardly gentrification followers.

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