The story of how Studio City’s Hyperion Public restaurant was created

Three dads, who met through their kids, cooked up a winning recipe for Hyperion Public.

When John Speaks, Akida Mashaka and Paddy Aubrey met at a preschool a few years back, they had their dad hats on. With more than a half dozen kids between them, they were focused on snacks, grades and getting children to and from activities— and of course their jobs. John worked in the music video industry and had been involved with an eatery on the westside, Akida was a Harvard-educated attorney who owned and operated Hoagies & Wings in Sherman Oaks, and Paddy was a chef who ran a caterering company. John and Akida tasted Paddy’s mac and cheese (among other dishes) at one of the school’s events.

“It was really, really good,” Akida recalls. “Comfort food at its best.”

“I make it without a roux,” Paddy shares. “That way it isn’t as filling, and you can have more than one serving.”

“One minute I’m sitting by myself at a table, and these two guys scoot over and the next thing I know we’re talking business,” laughs John.

After many more conversations and investments from friends and family, the trio opened Hyperion Public in Silver Lake. It had been an establishment that was a favorite of the gay community and locals weren’t exactly thrilled with the change. But by offering pub fare with creative, contemporary twists (like spicy, blueberry chicken wings, a veggie banh mi with a quinoa black bean patty and a crispy Brussels sprout cobb salad) and by providing a welcoming atmosphere, “We ultimately won the community over,” Akida explains.

Buoyed by that success, two years ago they expanded to a second location in Studio City. While the Silver Lake eatery is urban and young, “This location is more about families—people with kids,” says John.

“We wanted the atmosphere, service and food to be comfortable,” adds Akida.

Hyperion Public is divided into two sections—the restaurant section with several deep-seated, spacious booths, which with special activities like a weekly “Karaoke Night,” becomes off limits for kids by 9 p.m. and the more casual side, which John describes as a “community pub.”

“Everybody needs a place to go with it feeling like a big night out,” explains John.

“You want to sit at the bar and grab a quick beer after work? Great. You want to bring the kids in for chicken fries after a little league game? That works too.”

Responsibilities are divvied up. Paddy handles the menu and kitchen; Akita helms business operations and John is in charge of marketing and PR.

Meet the trio together and their wives’ names quickly come up in casual conversation. Lia, Akita’s wife, helps out with marketing and coordination. John’s wife, the fashion and interior designer Claire Stansfield, helmed the decor of both eateries. Paddy’s wife is the ABC TV executive-turned-producer, Jamie Tarses.

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