In 1962, Johnny Harlowe made the jump from the silver screen to chef and owner of Dear John’s. Convinced by his pal Frank Sinatra, Johnny opened the iconic spot just a ways down from Sony Studios on Culver Blvd. It became the watering-hole for the Hollywood elite with Sinatra often in the corner playing the piano against the dark brick walls once lined with portraits of famous John’s. Seasoned chefs and entrepreneurs Hans Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin have teamed up to re-open Dear John’s this April with an updated classic American menu and old-school cocktail list.
Hans Röckenwagner is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, baker, author, TV personality, designer and carpenter. He launched his first restaurant at the age of 24 in Venice, which served as a platform for numerous industry honors including the James Beard Rising Chef award, Gourmet Magazine’s Top 10 Restaurants and LA Weekly’s Top 10 Bakeries, among others. In addition to Röckenwagner Cafe in Mar Vista, Hans founded The Röckenwagner Bakery Group, which provides a full complement of wholesale, daily-fresh products to premium clients such as Whole Foods, Gelson’s, Lemonade, Mendocino Farms, Peet's Coffee and The Daily Grill restaurants. Hans’ commitment to quality and integrity have earned him a rightful place among the best bakery brands in the country. When he's not cooking or baking, he is building. Hans’ handmade furniture has been featured in House Beautiful, the LA Times and HGTV. The tables and booths at Dear John's are his latest woodworking projects.
Josiah Citrin is a culinary expert and veteran of Los Angeles’s
gourmet dining scene, with more than 25 years of experience. He is a two-star Michelin chef and owner of Santa Monica California’s highly-acclaimed Melisse Restaurant, Charcoal Venice, Dave’s Doghouse in the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles and Indian Wells Tennis Garden. In October of 2018, he began running the food and beverage program at the LINE LA in Koreatown, as well as the restaurant Openaire situated at the hotel. His newest restaurant, Coast, in Manhattan Beach opened in October of 2019 while Citrin and Melisse are set to open later this fall. His culinary philosophy, “In Pursuit of Excellence” sets the standard for all of his concepts, whether fine-dining or casual. When not working hard in his kitchens, Citrin is busy spending time with his family and playing host to his friends by firing up the grill for a backyard BBQ.