Restaurant Financier Bill Chait to Tackle Downtown's Bestia and Mess Hall in Los Feliz

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The Townhouse Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

Today The L.A. Times offers a look into the life and considerably gnarly portfolio of Bill Chait, the financier behind Sprout LA, which helped bring us Short Order, Sotto, Rivera, Playa, and GQ's sixth best new restaurant in the country, Picca, all in the last three years. Before Nancy Silverton gracefully fields a comparison between Chait and New York's Danny Meyer ("Everybody involved hopes that's the case," she says), the paper drops the news that Chait, who started his career as a pizza-man alongside actor Tim Robbins at Jacopo's, is resuscitating the Test Kitchen concept he started with Ricardo Zarate, while also hoping to get the looong-delayed Saint Vibiana location of Grace off the ground. What else?

Chait is currently working on the construction of a new Arts District trattoria called Bestia,which according to the article is a 140-seat Italian with a Neapolitan Acunto pizza oven by a strip-club ("all nude," Betty Hallock assures us). So far, a chef hasn't been named, though the man has Mozza maestress Nancy Silverton and the dueling chefs of Sotto on his side. Interestingly enough, Silverton's real estate investor father, Larry, was spotted at the site before going on a scouting mission with Chait.

Elsewhere the owner is planning to turn a Los Feliz location of the first restaurant chain he purchased, Louise's Trattoria, into a project named Mess Hall, serving "simpler food, with a modern twist." Either way, the entrepreneur behind some of the city's hottest restaurants is far from slowing down. Chait reflects on his success, "The concept of being in business is that you learn much more from your failures...People have said that, but I've lived it."

Bill Chait navigates rocky shoals of L.A. restaurant business [LAT]