Partners Beau Laughlin, Brett Cranston, and Jay Milliken designed, built, and opened a 7000-square-foot space in Silver Lake, now home to a seafood-focused seasonal California restaurant called Sawyer, a cold-pressed juicery called Clover, and an Italian restaurant called Kettle Black. When they collaborated with designer Carlos Anthony Lopez on the project, they decided to divide the space up into three different concepts, each distinctively designed. “When we took over the building, it was very important to us that all three eateries felt very different,” says owner Laughlin. “Not just in terms of the aesthetic, but also the food and beverage. It was important to us that the design compliment the sentiment of the food. We wanted Sawyer to feel light and airy with some modern takes on classics.”
We chatted with Laughlin to learn more about the project, his daily routine, and even snagged his favorite brunch recipes from chef Sydney C. Hunter III’s menu.
Smoked Trout Salad
- 3 ounces Smoked Trout (sliced ¼” thick)
- 1.5 cups Wild Baby Arugula
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette (see below)
- 3 tablespoons Horseradish Cream (see below)
- ¼ cup Haricots Verts/green beans (cooked al dente)
- 2 tablespoons Micro Parsley
- As needed, Maldon Salt
Place arugula in a bowl and toss lightly with lemon vinaigrette. Place in the middle of a serving bowl. Toss haricot verts with horseradish cream. Place in the middle of arugula salad. Place around and on top of smoked trout. Garnish with micro parsley and maldon salt.
Horseradish Crème Fraiche
- 1 cup Crème Fraiche
- 2 tablespoons Horseradish Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Maldon Salt (finely crushed)
- 1 ½ tablespoon Lemon Juice
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
- 1 ¼ cup Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 Garlic Clove (microplaned)
- 1 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Maldon Salt
- 1 tablespoons Ground Black Pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoonsShallots (finely diced)
- ¾ cup Olive Oil
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated and then mix in olive oil.
Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes
- 2 ounces Clarified Butter or ghee
- 4 ounces (for each pancake) Pancake Batter (see below)
- ¼ cup Blueberries
- 2 ounces Canadian Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Unsalted Butter
- 2 teaspoons Blueberries for garnish
In a large skillet heat clarified butter over medium heat. Ladle 4 ounces of batter to skillet. Add 1 ounce of blueberries on top of the pancake. Cook until you see bubbles popping through evenly through out the top. Flip gently and cook until firm to the touch all over. Transfer to a plate and serve with butter, maple syrup and blueberries.
Cornmeal Pancake Batter
- 1 ¼ cup Cornmeal
- 1 ¼ cup All-purpose. Flour
- 2 ounces Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 4 Eggs
- 2 ½ cups Buttermilk
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in a bowl wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a whisk. Whisk into batter melted butter.
Who is someone that inspires you in the hospitality and design world?
In terms of hospitality design, I really like what Wendy Hayworth is doing, and I think Commune is amazing.
Where do you seek inspiration for the restaurants you design?
Predominantly I draw inspiration from my upbringing in the Northwest. It’s extremely seasonal, green, and I was accustomed to seeing tons of natural elements every day. That’s why we have a lot of greenery incorporated into our concepts, almost always have an indoor/outdoor feel, a lot of modern wood, steel, stone, and ceramic elements with some kind of fire feature.
I’m 10 times more productive when…
I find time for myself and for my personal life. For years I’ve just grinded for long days, nights, and weekends putting business first and my health and personal life second. In the last six months I’ve been making an effort to be more active, be around people who inspire me and spend as much time as humanly possible with my wife.
Describe a typical day in your life:
Wake up by 7 A.M. and eat breakfast with my wife. Work for about an hour then walk to Sawyer at around 9 A.M. (I live eight blocks away). I’ll get onsite, and start pulling last night’s numbers for all of the businesses. After, I’ll start digging into my emails, and begin knocking out my to-do list. I take a lot of meetings throughout the day, put out fires as they come, then walk home around 5 PM. I’ll workout or do some kind of activity at 6:30 P.M., eat around 8 PM, unwind for an hour or so before I crash out around 10:30 P.M.
The best part of what I do is:
Yes, at the end of the day we’re selling food and beverage, but for me it’s really much more than that. We’re creating an experience, and ultimately memories. When I think back to some of the most important moments of my life, we celebrated them over food, usually at a restaurant. The other aspect that I love is the process. We don’t hire designers or general contractors for our spaces. We have an idea for a concept, and we literally do everything from A to Z.