Jessica Biel, Estee Stanley, Kimberly Muller, Joey Gonzalez, Jonathan Rollo and Monica Saunders-Weinberg are reframing the “rules” of dining out with their new LA eatery, Au Fudge — and it’s all thanks to their unique focus on family. Since the early days of planning, it’s been the driving force behind every one of the group’s business decisions. The name was even appropriately born out of a very real familial moment. Co-mastermind Estee Stanley tells us that when she became a mother, she and her husband began saying “oh fudge” to help them refrain from using unsavory language around the house. “That’s how the name came to be, but with a Français twist: Au Fudge,” she says.
With the name in place, the group began working alongside St. Frank and other makers to create the whimsical and cozy space Jessica Biel and her companions envisioned. In one of the space’s more lively spots, an arcade flashes and blinks. It beckons children and the inner-kid in all visitors to play some games while the dinner table is set. With the high score beat, guests are then ushered into the dining hall where vintage finishes, soft lighting, communal farm tables and the smell of a well-cooked meal evoke the warmth of home.
Of course, kids are always welcome inside the dining room, but parents will find it challenging to drag their little ones away from Au Fudge’s adorably-decorated Creative Space. Led by Au Fudge’s Au Pairs, this area of the restaurant offers all of the books, games and artistic and musical activities that a kid could hope for. Set at the back of the room and atop the space’s secret, golden staircase is perhaps my favorite aspect of Au Fudge: the textile-rich treehouse. Comfy St. Frank pillows, a neon-tassled chandelier and windows that let in brilliant sunlight make it the must-see feature of the restaurant. And that’s saying something, as the entire space is designed to a T. Click through to soak it all in. Enjoy! —Garrett