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New restaurant Audrey opens inside Hammer Museum, offers full bar

Audrey at the Hammer opens Tuesday inside the Hammer Museum. The restaurant features a full bar and a menu emphasizing European flavors. (Courtesy of Amanda Schnider)

By Maanas Oruganti

Feb. 26, 2019 12:52 a.m.

A new restaurant and bar opened inside the Hammer Museum on Tuesday.

Audrey at the Hammer opened its doors as part of a 4-year project to expand the museum. The restaurant features a full bar and a menu emphasizing European flavors.

Soa Davies Forrest, restaurateur and Audrey’s co-founder, said in an email statement the restaurant will offer a wide range of prices to accommodate all guests, including UCLA students.

“The menu offers an array of different dishes for guests looking to have a sit-down dinner, lights snacks or casual cocktails,” Forrest said. “There are many different options with various price points.”

Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said he thinks the restaurant will encourage students to visit spaces in the Hammer, like the surrounding courtyard, more frequently.

“I bet students will visit (the restaurant) and I think they’ll enjoy it,” Thomas said. “That courtyard is a really amazing resource, and it’s fun to spend time there.”

Forrest said the restaurant aims to be inclusive of the entire Westwood and Los Angeles community.

“The design highlights the inclusive, approachable setting of the museum, with an extensive outdoor patio anchoring the space,” Forrest said.

Thomas said he thinks Audrey will be a quality destination in Westwood Village for residents and visitors alike.

“You can never have enough quality destinations in a district,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be universally supported, appreciated and visited by folks in our district.”

Lisa Giffen, head chef and Audrey’s co-founder, said in an email statement that the local cultures of Los Angeles inspired her choices for Audrey’s menu.

“When developing the menu, I was greatly influenced by the micro-cultures of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas,” Giffen said. “Guests will find elevated and soulful cooking with a contemporary Southern California feel, yoked to the region’s seasons.”

Giffen added Audrey uses ingredients and produce from local farmers and small-scale winemakers.

Forrest added the restaurant is also open to anyone, regardless of whether they are visiting the Hammer.

“Anyone visiting the museum will have access to the restaurant, and guests of Audrey can also enter through a separate entrance on Lindbrook Drive,” Forrest said.

Keegan Smith, a third-year philosophy student, said he has not visited the Hammer Museum before, but good reviews about Audrey might sway him to explore the Hammer.

“If I hear through people that it’s a fun place to be or it has good food, I would absolutely visit the museum,” Smith said.

Sina Keramat, a first-year financial actuarial mathematics student, said he thinks Audrey would be a good addition to the restaurant market in Westwood.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Keramat said. “Westwood has plenty of places to eat, so what’s one more, right?”

Pritish Patil, a first-year psychobiology student, said while he would be more likely to visit the Hammer to try Audrey’s food, he is not sure if it would be a good idea to house a restaurant inside a free establishment.

“I don’t know per se that the Hammer Museum is a good place to keep it because the whole point of that is to be a free art place,” Patil said. “But it seems like a cool idea.”

Forrest said the restaurant was named after Audrey Irmas, a philanthropist and Hammer Museum board member.

“We are excited to honor Audrey Irmas, a close friend of the Hammer and longtime patron of the arts,” Forrest said. “She is a great supporter of our vision and has been integral in helping us bring our idea of Audrey into fruition.”

The larger ongoing multiphase expansion of the Hammer Museum also includes the expansion of existing galleries and office space by 2020.

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Maanas Oruganti | Enterprise editor
Oruganti is currently the Enterprise Editor. He was previously a News staff writer and also a reporter for the city and crime beat. He is a third-year student at UCLA studying cognitive science and math.
Oruganti is currently the Enterprise Editor. He was previously a News staff writer and also a reporter for the city and crime beat. He is a third-year student at UCLA studying cognitive science and math.
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