by Melanie Camp
Chef Ari Taymor’s mom doesn’t know it, but he named his latest venture in her honor.
Little Prince is a pop up at 2424 Main Street in Santa Monica, and it is still enough of a secret you should be able to grab a table before the rush comes.
“My mom would read the book to me as a kid, and I guess the last few years with everything that went on with the restaurant it was like she was always there. My parents were super supportive so to be able to name something after them is nice for me to be able to show them, they don’t even know why we named it what it is, but they’ll come down in a couple of weeks,” Taymor told Yo! Venice.
Little Prince is across the road from the place Taymor started his career as a chef at a restaurant called Saluté, now Brick + Mortar. Returning to where it all began for a fresh start feels good, “it’s just such a beautiful space and the neighborhood is great,” said Taymor.
In 2012, Taymor opened his first venture, alma as a pop-up. A year later, alma was named America’s best new restaurant by Bon Appétit magazine. The twice-nominated, James Beard rising star chef surprised many by turning down a tremendous opportunity and wrote an op-ed in LA Weekly telling the world why.
“We push ourselves through 90-hour weeks; we leave family and friends behind for unpaid stages in far-flung corners of the world. We push our bodies and our minds as far as they can go. We sacrifice,” he wrote.
In the end, he explained to Yo! Venice, that he just wanted to make dishes he would serve up to friends at home, strip away the ego “and cook the food that we eat.” And then, the opportunity to create exactly that kind of food “popped up,” he said.
Taymor’s team, including creative duo, Tegan Butler and Andy Noël, operating partner Shane Won Murphy and Chef de Cuisine, Ally Rael, whipped together a plan for the Little Prince within a matter of days. The decor, the plants, the coffee program and the cocktail program.
“Everyone who’s with me, both front and back, has been working with me for about two years now, so we have such a strong team,” said Taymor. And it shows. The food is delicious. The cocktails, including a spicy Bloody Mary and Mezcal Cactus Cooler, are the only way to start the weekend.
The English muffins for the breakfast sandwich, and pastries like the matcha donuts and cinnamon rolls, are baked in-house. The breakfast potatoes are crispy and drizzled with a delicate, seaweed hollandaise so good you probably should order a little extra on the side. For Vegans, one option is a sensational brown rice porridge made with rose water and cashew cream.
Taymor said he wanted to create the kind food he’d cook for his buddies at home, but who needs friends that cook when you have Little Prince just down the road? At least, for a couple of months.
Little Prince is open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 2424 Main St., Santa Monica. Book through the Resty App.