Kissed by The Rose

Mention The Rose to anyone in Venice Beach and they’ll have a story. It’s been a beloved hotspot of locals since 1979 when it operated under the name Rose Cafe. Renowned Chef Jason Neroni got involved two years ago with the mission to reinvent it. His new Rose opened in November of 2015 and serves American classics, as well as its own take on some of the original Rose bakery favorites.

A huge task to reinvent something that was already such a neighborhood staple Jason explains, “We had a little bit of an identity crisis in the beginning. We wanted to honor what it was but also let everyone know we were a new entity.”

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Important to him was to maintain the breakfast and lunch model that was there for years, but also offer an updated “grab-and-go” kind of deli concept which he had had great success with as culinary director and chef at nearby Superba. He also kept some of the original staff who had worked in the same building for dozens of years, reaffirming that this spot was not just a home to locals but also to the people who had helped create it.

Inspired by Russ & Daughters and his two pizzerias in New York, Jason sought to add his own personal touch. His team gutted the whole restaurant and started from scratch. They added patio seating along Rose Avenue and decked out the kitchen in custom stainless steel and the best equipment available. The menu expanded, and dinner at The Rose, was finally served.

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The food is exquisite. Jason’s extensive travels and 23 years of restaurant experience allow him the ability to draw from various areas while cooking to serve a broad spectrum of different types of cuisine. He likes to call his cooking “globally inspired, locally sourced.” Not wanting to be pigeon holed as just a diner or deli, and not wanting to be known for just their breakfast, or just their lunch or dinner, he wanted to put it all on one page, in one spot. The Rose now offers everything from wood-fired pizzas and pastas, to Yellowtail Crudo and Chicken Liver Mousse. They offer House Beer and they offer Grand Cru. It boasts a casual atmosphere in the day, and a formal one at night. There is street meter parking and then, there is valet.

“It’s a craftsman’s workshop… we’re always tinkering and building, cutting and etching, working and dusting things,” says Jason. And it shows. The attention to detail and the things that make it great are vast. Gardens hang from the ceilings, patios are aplenty, and a 200-seat dining area is mixed with high top tables and low tops. Zach Galifianakis lives around the corner and comes in so regularly Jason’s not at all fazed. Then of course, there’s the original pink rose mural painted around the front door—something that just makes Venice, well, Venice.

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Jason realizes the large role The Rose has always played in this small eclectic beach city. “It’s your local diner, your local watering hole, it’s your meeting and gathering place, it’s your workspace, it’s your family time, your date spot… it’s definitely an all day affair.”

An all day affair serving up roses since the 70’s. That, in itself, sounds like a good story.

Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. Currently living in Long Beach, she’s finding herself spending more and more time in Venice. The Rose certainly isn’t helping the matter. Find her via email at lindsay@thefullest.com or on social media at @lindizzaster.

Photographs by Pascal Shirley.

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