Tallula’s Opens in Santa Monica Canyon

By Jessie Levine
Special to the Palisades News

The Westside L.A. dining scene has been enriched by the Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants, including the highly acclaimed Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, Milo & Olive, Cassia, Esters Wine Shop & Bar and Huckleberry Cafe & Bakery, plus Sweet Rose Creamery.

Each of these eateries has made a distinct mark on L.A.’s thriving food culture, thanks to the impressive culinary skills of husband and wife co-owners Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan. They manage all of their restaurants with the core values of commitment to the best possible local ingredients, making everything by hand in-house, and hiring quality employees.

Tallula’s main dining room, with kitchen in the background. Photo: Rick Poon

Tallula’s main dining room, with kitchen in the background.
Photo: Rick Poon

The newest addition to the Rustic Canyon Family is the just-opened Tallula’s, located at 118 Entrada Dr., right off PCH in Santa Monica Canyon. The Mexican-inspired menu will be overseen by the prodigal Chef Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, and Executive Chef Mario Alberto, previously of Laurel Hardware and Ysabel in West Hollywood.

Jeremy Fox has been turning heads with his bright, vegetable-forward and locally-sourced menu at Rustic Canyon on Wilshire; if his show-stopping posole is any indication of what guests can expect from the menu at Tallula’s, we’re all in for a treat. Mario Alberto has been a long-time friend of Fox and brings his own impressive culinary sensibility to the table. The two met while putting together the menu at Freddie Smalls on Pico.

Tallula’s owners Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan. Photo: Rick Poon

Tallula’s owners Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan.
Photo: Rick Poon

Josh Loeb talked to the Palisades News about Tallula’s and indicated that some of the first menu tastings at were “unbelievable”—good flavors and good sensibilities brought by Alberto. Fox will oversee and guide menu decisions while ensuring that the restaurant group’s core values are being upheld.

The menu concept stems from the bright and authentic dishes at Rustic Canyon, but with a definite focus on Mexican cuisine.

“We have always wanted a Mexican restaurant in the group, and we’ve always wanted something within walking distance from our house,” said Loeb, who lives in the house he grew up in in Rustic Canyon with wife Zoe and their three kids, Milo (8), Tallula (3) and Felix (1).

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The menu is gorgeous—think a lighter, brighter Mexican cuisine with seasonal produce amid larger proteins including light fish dishes, hanger steak and lamb barbacoa, served with sides of aromatic moles, fresh salsas and house-made tortillas. The wine program, helmed by Kathryn Coker of Esters, will be centered around a tight and well-considered wine list from smaller production capacity wineries. Aaron Ranf will oversee the bar program, curating a cocktail list that features agave-based spirits like tequila and mescal, but also drinks with a distinctly beachy vibe—made with crushed ice and served tiki style.

Guests can expect the price point at Tallula’s to fall somewhere in between Milo & Olive and Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, or in other words, an affordable neighborhood spot.

In its previous life, the space that will house Tallula’s was a Tex-Mex spot called Marix, whose owners have stayed involved as investors in Tallula’s.

“It’s been a fun way to transition,” said Loeb of the involvement of the previous owners of a restaurant he used to frequent while growing up only a mile away. In fact, everything about Tallula’s is especially personal for Loeb and Nathan.

“We want people to know just how much of a heart project this is for Zoe and me,” Josh said. “We take so much pride in this restaurant, it’s going to be our neighborhood spot, and we really care about every single aspect. It’s definitely our most personal project yet, and we hope our neighbors in the Palisades will feel the same.”

Tallula’s opened on May 9, with opening hours of 4 p.m. until about 10:30 p.m., and will be closed on Mondays for the first month or so. Visit tallulasrestaurant.com for more information.

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