MessHall is a restaurant that opened in 2012 in a building rich with Los Angeles history. Originally built by Cecil B. DeMille, the structure was most renowned as the longtime home of the Los Feliz branch of the Brown Derby restaurant. More recently, it was part of the Louise’s empire for more than 20 years.
The focus of MessHall’s design was to reveal and celebrate the vintage building elements that had been long covered and to complement those elements with polished industrial finishes, with the object of creating an elegant, contemporary take on a military or camp mess hall. MessHall now highlights the beautiful, soaring dome ceiling, which was built in 1929, as well as the original steel and wood beams.
New elements, such as brickwork, the corrugated metal bar face and communal tables of reclaimed wood, play on the mood set by the existing structure, while custom white-oak tabletops and pops of color throughout add a more modern edge.
The sweeping patio (formerly the parking area for the drive-in “car cafe” of yore), with its concrete planters, ipé benches, and table-height fire pits, offer an inviting outdoor space where guests can dine with friends by the fire.