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LA’s New Restaurant Gusto Green Brings Hemp to the Culinary Forefront

Downtown’s Gusto Green has been a growing project for years now. First announced in 2018, the collaborative, multi-story space from Gusto 54 and its founder Janet Zuccarini — successful Canadian operators known locally for running Felix in Venice — is meant to be more than just a restaurant. With tendrils into the health, wellness, and cannabis arenas, it also represents creative entrepreneurship. The Hill Street building is among the most ambitious projects to land in Downtown in years; here’s what to expect.

First up is Gusto Green, run by Gusto 54 with menu direction from chef Michael Magliano, previously of the French Laundry, Craft, San Francisco’s Quince, and Animal in Los Angeles. The restaurant is not a cannabis consumption lounge and does not imbue food or drinks with any psychoactive components (such as THC), though it does have an exclusive relationship with the only federally approved hemp grower for food, Ziese Farms. As such, the mostly plant-based, though not exclusively, menu will at times lean into the use of hemp, including as a standalone leaf battered with chickpea flour to be served as a starter. Magliano will also offer a variety of hemp-made goods as part of a future retail component.

The Garden Of with pea tendrils and cara cara oranges.

Otherwise expect a menu rooted in plants, from beluga lentils bathed in coconut milk to spicy roasted cauliflower, with mostly vegan pastas, some sourdough pizzas, meatier mains like ora king salmon and a turmeric-rubbed roast chicken. The restaurant’s bar will also turn out natural wines, housemade kombucha, adaptogenic teas, and cocktails (both alcoholic and zero-proof). The opening menu is below.

Studio Unltd (Bavel the Rose Cafe, M. Georgina) is behind the build-out, crafting a greenhouse-like main dining room — complete with an atrium-style lofted glass ceiling and filled with banquettes, booths, oakwood tables, and more. There’s a marble bar just beyond, a separate lounge area, and a third chef’s table space that seats 10 diners a night offering views into the kitchen. All told, the 6,000-square-foot restaurant can seat 200 diners at a clip, with dinner service only to start.

Elsewhere in the Hill Street building is the Green Street Agency, a creative firm backed by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk that works exclusively in the cannabis space. Together, Gusto Green and the Green Street Agency will open a rooftop bar, lounge, and private event space in 2022 as well, with its own menu and room for 150 people at a time. The low-lit evening hangout will offer views of the Downtown landscape in addition to live music, events, and installations.

For now, there is Gusto Green, opening in January at 718 S. Hill Street in Downtown. Hours run Wednesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a cafe, grab-and-go service, and other restaurant activations to come in early 20221.

Update: Due to a mechanical issue inside the restaurant, Gusto Green’s opening is delayed until mid-January 2022.

A new restaurant’s dining room with glass ceiling, shown from the side.

The tall, airy dining room.

The long restaurant bar at a new space in Downtown LA.

A long bar with maroon seats.

Signs for Gusto Green with a small patio, a restaurant in Downtown LA.

Out front.

718 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014