Providing Los Angeles with the finest eating, drinking and lodging establishments on the Eastside.
Dustin Lancaster is a Los Angeles based restaurateur and hotelier. Originally an Oklahoma native he was lured to LA to study theatre at the California Institute of the Arts. Upon graduation he moved to Los Feliz where he instantly fell in love with the eclectic, artsy and affluent vibe of the east side which would quickly become the foundation and motivation for many of his projects. After spending most of his 20’s acting in television and commercials he enjoyed a transformative five year stint as the bar manager at Café Stella. There he developed a real passion for quality service, design aesthetic as well as developing a strong affinity for wine that inspired him to open his first venture in 2010, Bar Covell. This Los Feliz wine bar quickly became one of the city’s go to venues for wine drinkers. It has since garnered such accolades as Travel and Leisure’s, “America’s Best Wine Bars” and Esquire’s “Best Bars in America.”
Within a year, Dustin was ready for another project but not sure what exactly. While on a trip to Boston inspiration struck and L&E Oyster Bar was born. L&E opened in January of 2012 and was met with overwhelming and resounding positive response and is still regarded as one of the premier restaurants in Los Angeles. Most recently being named one of Los Angeles Magazines “75 best restaurants.” Within mere months of opening L&E, Dustin was approached to take a look at a spot in the rapidly up and coming neighborhood of Highland Park. With an impressive 90 day turnaround The Hermosillo was brought back to life and is now anchoring the uber-hip stretch of York Blvd. In June 2015 the Hermosillo crew, spearheaded by brewmaster and operator Bob Kunz opened the Highland Park Brewery in conjunction with the bar which is already regarded as one of the best new breweries on the West Coast.
In Late 2013 Dustin was again approached with an opportunity. A long-standing 40 year old Sunset Junction restaurant was looking for new operators and Dustin leapt at the opportunity to hold the keys. Months of careful planning went into the remodel, trying to preserve the great energy and shape that had been built over decades all the while giving the space a much needed makeover and refreshing update. In early 2014 El Condor opened its doors, serving some of the finest cocktails and freshest Mexican food on the east side.
“The restaurant business is too damn hard if you don’t fall in love with it!”
Dustin’s first hotel project was a small but ambitious five-bedroom boutique hotel located directly above Bar Covell and fittingly named Hotel Covell. Dustin being a 13 year Los Feliz resident has known for years that there are very limited options for lodging in the Silver Lake, Los Feliz area and is thrilled at the opportunity to bring his hospitality skill and design sense to this new endeavor. In it’s first year it has made the “best of” lists of Vogue, Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast. It’s instant success has already brought in several new hotel opportunities which are currently in the works.
“It helps that I genuinely like people! That way it just feels like I’m hanging out with friends!”
In early 2016 Dustin opened two new ventures. One being a long time idea that tapped into his down-home roots. It was the revamp of the wildly popular, fried chicken and beer concept he heralded as a pop up in 2011. This new reiteration is named Crawfords and resides in the up and coming Westlake neighborhood. Secondly, Dustin and his Hermosillo partners, repurposed an old pool hall in Highland Park into the neighborhoods first live entertainment music venue called The Hi Hat. Some of the best touring bands and local acts have already graced it’s stages. In 2017 Dustin will return to his wine bar roots as he and partners Michael Blackman and Alain Jeu will open Oriel in Chinatown. This French-centric program will undoubtedly be top-notch and likely ahead of the curve in an area that is coming up fast and in need of a destination like this.