Some interesting changes have been underway at Dukes on the Sunset Strip under new owner Adam Newton, previously of Cafeteria in NYC, and his partner Kelly Li. The most dramatic enhancement is coming up. A private lounge is being opened above the diner that will pay homage Jim Morrison. The menu is also undergoing some changes in the coming days, and updates to the decor are being phased in.
From design to cuisine to cocktail, wine and beer selections, the new owners say that Dukes is being “re-introduced as a staple for a new generation.”
Since its beginning at the Tropicana Hotel in 1968, Dukes has been a celebrity haunt and musical mecca, attracting the likes of Jim Morrison, Tom Waits, Blondie, Tom Petty, Janis Joplin, and more, before its eventual move to The Strip in 1987. A private lounge is currently being opened above the diner that will pay homage to Morrison, a former resident.
The Morrison Room will be located directly above the restaurant, in the space where Jim Morrison himself apparently lived for a time. It will be accessible by the back entrance, and will feature an intimate lounge space and balcony that overlooks the Sunset Strip. It should be open in a few weeks, according to the restaurant.
Newton is know for other hotspots such as Restaurant 44, located in Ian Schrager’s Royalton Hotel, and The Carriage House. He was also involved with the Blue Door restaurant in the Delano Hotel, where Madonna is a partner. He also served as the Senior Food & Beverage Manager at Conde Nast’s Cafeteria, where he coordinated dozens of high profile events, including Karl Lagerfeld’s birthday party in the home of Anna Wintour, and Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair.
The experience gained in these years influenced Newton during his conceptualization of the very popular Cafeteria restaurant in New York City’s Chelsea district. Working side by side with designer Ilan Waisbrod of Studio Gaia (Thompson & W Hotels), and chef Tyler Florence (now a celebrity Food Network chef), Newton created a unique atmosphere and menu that exploded onto the NY scene and has since been featured in magazines, movies, and TV shows (including Sex and the City).
In 2005, the Los Angeles real estate scene brought Newton back to the West Coast, and while designing and remodeling properties, he found time to help launch Kitchen 24, a Cafeteria-inspired concept in Hollywood. When Dukes became available in 2009, after 42 years with only two owners, he decided to jump on the opportunity to give it the Newton treatment.
Newton’s constant presence, both in front and behind the scenes, is reflected throughout his restaurants. He aims to create environments that are stylish yet functional, cool yet unpretentious, and consistently maintain the highest quality and service.
He will be gradually be infusing his style into the decor at Dukes, staring off with new wallpaper, bringing back communal tables and adding high-profile memorabilia. The bulk of Adam’s current focus is on updating the menu with farm fresh, local meats and produce, beers and wines, as well as finalizing the Morrison Room upstairs.
In addition to its breakfast staples, Dukes has recently unveiled an assortment of dinner entrees, including locally farmed meats (Pan Seared New York Steak with Peppercorn Sauce), vegetarian and vegan options (Tofu Sautee with Seasonal Farmer’s Market Vegetables), and organic wines and beers.
More menu changes are planned for the coming days, including fresh baked desserts, even more vegan options, grilled salmon, fresj squeezed juices and flavored mimosas.
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