When Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard opened up her now-flagship restaurant Girl & the Goat in Chicago, no one knew it would be the start of an empire. Now, 11 years later, Izard sits on top of a growing list of in-demand restaurants that includes Little Goat Diner, Duck Duck Goat, Cabra, and Sugargoat, all in Chicago. And this month she took a big step across the country, bringing the first outpost of her goat-inspired restaurant series to the West Coast with the highly anticipated Los Angeles opening of Girl & the Goat.
This LA location shares the same vision as the Chicago original, with plenty of eclectic small plates, including her signature goat dishes — the goat influence comes from her name, “izard” meaning a goat-antelope from the mountainous regions of Europe — that even Izard has trouble defining.
“When people ask me what [the cuisine] is, I never even know what to say because we do things from all over,” she says. It all translates to dishes such as confit goat belly, sticky glazed pork shank, and duck tongues with crispy wontons, which have become beloved by Chicagoans, keeping the restaurant a hot spot over the years.
At Girl & the Goat LA, Izard transports her style to the coastal city and shows how her food and cooking skills have evolved. Here’s what to expect from the new LA opening.
Izard’s menu of course includes long-standing favorites from the original, such as the sautéed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews, which Izard says has been on the menu forever. But she’s also letting Los Angeles’s famed fresh produce guide the way.
“Being at the markets, it’s giving me that inspiration I need to come up with new stuff,” she says. As far as bringing together the two cities, the goat liver mousse will be reimagined with a citrus marmalade and grilled blueberries on top, with the fresh crumpets and biscuit crackers Chicago diners are familiar with. For those looking to try something completely new, Izard has prepared a local opah fish with tomatoes, pickled raisins, pickled peppers, and salsa verde that she says is full of “bright, bold, and in-your-face flavors.”
Opening weekend will also see the launch of a brunch menu inspired by Izard’s Chicago diner, Little Goat, that serves all-day brunch. “I love brunch — you just sit and have cocktails and snacks; it’s the best,” Izard says. She made sure this would be a fun one with a live DJ spinning tracks, playful snacks like doughnuts, and drinks by Little Goat’s resident mixologist Mike Zell, who’s shaking it up in LA to kick off the opening with herb-driven cocktails.
Izard assisted designer Karen Herold — who did the interior for Girl & the Goat Chicago — to replicate the same feel with an LA edge. “If you were to walk into the Chicago one and walk into the [LA] one, you can tell they almost look like sister restaurants,” Izard says. She describes the Chicago decor as “rustic with a bit of badass,” whereas the LA counterpart is “lighter, sunnier, airy with lots of plants, windows, and lighter wood.” The Arts District neighborhood guides the aesthetic.
“It is very reminiscent of the West Loop where we have our other restaurants in Chicago,” Izard says. “I walked into the space, and I could see it and feel it. It just felt right.”
When to go
Girl & the Goat LA is open for select reservations starting today with a grand opening on Thursday, July 15. Opening hours are Monday through Thursday, from 5pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 11pm, and Sunday from 10am to 2:30pm. Spots are filling up fast at this highly anticipated opening, so grab your seat today.