On Friday afternoon, management at The Little Door — the venerable French restaurant and date night hot spot located at 8164 West 3rd Street in Los Angeles — sent an email to loyal customers in an attempt to clear the air.
“It has come to our attention that there is another restaurant in West Hollywood operating under the name The Little Door Restaurant,” read the email. “We would like to let you know that we have absolutely NO association with this restaurant and its operators. When making a reservation, please double-check that you are making a reservation at the correct location as it can be confusing on Open Table and Google.”
The restaurant referred to in the email is The Little Door at Harlowe, located at 7321 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. And there actually is a connection to the 3rd Street business in Chef. T. Nicolas Peter who, according to the Harlowe website, spent “over two decades perfecting the art of French cooking at The Little Door…” It was reported in July of 2020 that he had joined Harlowe and at the time, co-owner Dimitri Komarov told Eater L.A., “We have been huge fans of The Little Door and Nicolas’s food since the beginning.”
The Harlowe business is part of 1933 Group, a hospitality venture run by Komarov with fellow owners Bobby Green and Dmitry Liberman. It includes the recently renovated Formosa, Highland Park Bowl and Idle Hour in North Hollywood, Sassafras in Hollywood, La Cuevita in Highland Park, Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz, Thirsty Crow in Silver Lake, Culver City’s Bigfoot West and Oldfield’s Liquor Room, and the hot dog stand Tail o’ the Pup.
The email from the 3rd Street Little Door came as the restaurant had recently reopened amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has decimated the restaurant industry. Ahead of the busy Valentine’s Day holiday — a crucial date on the calendar for a restaurant such as Little Door — management wanted to make sure that customers knew about the situation.
Reached by email, Little Door owners Nicolas and Frederic Meschin responded at length, saying the situation has incited a swirl of emotions. “We are flattered, amused, and upset by this. As the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery. With that being said, like many other restaurants, we have had a hard year due to COVID and are financially limited,” they write. “We are trying to fight the name as we have a trademark but doing so is expensive. It is certainly beginning to impact our business. A lot of customers are confused.”
They added that many customers have reached out and the duplicate names have become “a huge concern.” The Little Door is already fully booked for Valentine’s Day and they hoped to get ahead of any potential customers who show up thinking that they have a reservation when they could have booked at the Harlowe location, located just 2.4 miles from its door.
“We are doing our best to notify all our customers, but it is very challenging,” they say. “They should also know that we are still committed to delivering the Little Door experience that guests have come to know and love for the past 25 years.”
THR tried to reach Little Door at Harlowe by phone and email and did not hear back as of press time.
If you’re planning on opening the door at The Little Door, make sure you’re stepping inside the right restaurant. There are now two Little Door restaurants in Los Angeles and the OG (8164 West 3rd Street) is making sure its loyal and future customers are aware of the situation. pic.twitter.com/yyhW7EwenO
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 9, 2021