Phillip Frankland Lee Teams on Woodley Proper in Encino

Scratch|Bar & Kitchen owners Phillip Frankland Lee and wife Margarita are teaming with chef Luke Reyes and bartender Devon Espinosa on Woodley Proper in Encino.

Scratch|Bar & Kitchen owners Phillip Frankland Lee and wife Margarita are working with chef Luke Reyes to open Oh Man! Ramen in Encino Place by mid-September. In October the trio plans to add Woodley Proper to the same plaza at the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Woodley Avenue.

Phillip describes the concept as a “cocktail lounge that serves great food and snacks to go with the cocktails.” Scratch|Bar never managed to secure a full liquor license, so they saw potential drinkers head to neighboring Larsen’s Steakhouse to score pre- or post-dinner cocktails. They also saw a need for a destination cocktail bar in the Valley, so Phillip recruited longtime friend Devon Espinosa, a bartender who attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked at high-profile bars like The Tasting Kitchen and ink. Phillip says, “There’s definitely nowhere to get drinks like you can get from Devon Espinosa, especially now that Julian Cox is no longer doing Fiscal Agent.”

Their goal is to become “our neighborhood’s home away from home.” That means complementing Scratch|Bar and Oh Man! Ramen instead of trying to compete. Phillip adds, “One of the things we really wanted was something that spoke to the neighborhood.”

The former Indian restaurant had red walls and orange floors. The Woodley Proper crew opened things up, adding a bar with 15 seats, open kitchen, and pastry and bakery station behind glass where customers will be able to watch Margarita Lee bake baguettes, boules and desserts. A casual lounge vibe will extend to high-top tables, couches, love seats and benches. Phillip says, “Go find a nook and hang out.” A cocktail server will find you.

How about the menu? Phillip says they’re “getting away from the tweezers and away from xanthan gum and moving toward doing proper food and proper drinks.” That could mean a seafood tower, oysters, grilled cheese sandwich, wedge salad or baked Alaska.

Devon will make classic cocktails like manhattan and old-fashioned, along with a signature Woodley Proper, recipe TBD, that they’re hoping to turn into a modern classic.

16101 Ventura Blvd., Encino

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