Japanese restaurant

Group shots Japanese restaurant, hotel, spa at the arts district fire station


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It’s shaping up to be a great year for the people of Kensho. Owner David Wynn has recruited a new partner for his growing restaurant and hotel group, and is looking to expand into several different businesses (and even different cities) over the next year and more. And to think that it all started from a small hill in Hollywood.

The current Kensho is a small cafe and wine bar located just down the hill from the historic Yamashiro property that overlooks Hollywood proper. Wynn has been running his restaurant there since 2019, while also operating the Super Rich onigiri and donburi bar in Echo Park, which previously housed his collaborative and noble café Triniti. Over the next year, however, Wynn will have broadened its base from these two small cafes to include a yakitori bar and a cocktail bar on Sunset in Hollywood; a restaurant, cocktail bar and omakase cafe inside a new hotel (of which he is also the spearhead) in the arts district; a tea house and a boutique of quality products in Venice; and more. What the hell?

“A lot of these opportunities have come from different owners,” Wynn said when contacted by phone on June 23. It helps that he also got a single, like-minded investor to oversee all of this expansion together. “We got to a point where we realized that if we want to add it all together in a cohesive way, we have to form a formal group to keep everything tight. The new Kensho group was born and, with it, a prominent new player in the modern Japanese culinary and cultural scene in Los Angeles.

The biggest project to know about so far is Kensho Ryokan, which takes over the gated ownership of the Firehouse Hotel and Restaurant at 710 S. Santa Fe in the Arts District, next to the next Yangban Company on the corner of Bestia. Wynn tells Eater that the renovated old fire station will provide the same stay at the nine-room hotel as before, but with the feel of a Japanese boutique getaway. The team is building a veritable oasis of onsen water behind the property, while inside, a downstairs restaurant named Kodo will offer omakase experiences. A separate hi-fi listening cocktail bar and day cafe will also operate on site.

Next, a two-story Kensho outpost opens in an Art Deco building one block from Gwen at 6630 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The first floor will function as a yakitori restaurant, with the second floor serving as an underground bar-style cocktail bar. This property has the same owner as Yamashiro, so the expansion into the new address made sense for Wynn. In addition, it is a beautiful building. “Historic buildings with lots of charm and modern interiors have always been our thing,” he said. “That’s what we want to do as a team. The Kensho on Sunset is scheduled to open this fall.

After that, Wynn and his company plan to open a “little pop-up shop, just a tea house and a market with selected products” on the site of his architectural office at 805 Hampton Drive in Venice. The group is also working on a separate wine and sake store that also has a tight collection of teas and Japanese products in Laguna Beach, inside a yet to be named hotel owned by the group. investor in Wynn.

Needless to say, that’s a lot in a short period of time, although Wynn obviously pondered these different ideas for years before the pieces fell into place. “People started to think, ‘Why don’t you do some of these things on our properties? “” Wynn said of her seemingly sudden post-pandemic plans, “and I would say” Well they all sound great, but I don’t “I don’t have the money to do all of that! And now he does.


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