west~bourne — mission driven, LA inspired, vegetable forward and environmentally mindful. These are the core pillars that define us, inspire us, and enrich our business in endless ways. Since we opened in January 2018, these values have proved fundamental to cultivating a unique guest experience, fostering the growth of our team, and nurturing a community-oriented company that drives social good. west~bourne rethinks every element of hospitality from business and experiential standpoints, and we’re unafraid of challenging conventions at every turn. We have tried to draw on the best in class across industries beyond hospitality to develop a hospitality brand that stands for community by giving back in an earnest, modern and integrated way. As a society, we make more purchasing decisions about food and beverage in our daily lives than anything else, so the collective impact we can make by building in a distinctive give-back model into our business is limitless. And, it all reinvests in improving the lives of our own neighbors.
At west~bourne, we are uniquely focused on delivering neighborhood hospitality. This means creating a space and business model that is inclusive and welcoming to the entire community — guests and employees alike. By donating 1% of each sale through the Robin Hood Foundation to The Door, a local organization supporting youth development services, we are directly investing in hospitality training for youth in the area — and we don’t stop there. In order to stay deeply connected to this initiative, and our community, we also hire from this program sustaining a circular, self-fulfilling, and deeply meaningful giveback model. Furthermore, we stay aligned with our conscious perspective through our hospitality-included policy, meaning that we do not accept tips. However, if a guest is adamant to show their appreciation via cash, we gladly accept donations to The Door.
Our cross-training model is another essential west~bourne strategy we invest in to create and maintain a well-rounded, thoughtful business. In contrast to the traditional restaurant model, we exclude the labels “front of house” and “back of house” and implement equal pay across all team members, regardless of the position. Rather, we embrace a rotational, generalist program, where every team member learns how to successfully execute every function in the restaurant — from culinary craft and coffee service to taking care of guess and point of sale to wine pairing. This integrative training method ensures that all employees understand the holistic scope of the restaurant and are mindfully pushed outside of their comfort zone. As a result, employees are able to discover their unique strengths and learn how to leverage those advantages to create an efficient and balanced team unit. By understanding the full realm of restaurant operations, our team fosters empathy and a distinct collaborative spirit, as quite literally each has walked or soon will walk in the others’ shoes. This adaptable training model makes scheduling effective and productive, but most notably, allows us to hire individuals with no previous experience in the restaurant industry as well as provides unparalleled extended education and experience to those that are veterans to reach new heights. Consequently, west~bourne becomes a launch pad for industry professionals, as well as first timers, to develop new skills and hone in on existing strengths. In today’s society, there are few remaining industries that have as low of a barrier to entry as hospitality that can make way for a long-term career and upward economic mobility. If we care about maintaining a flourishing middle class for generations to come, these essential career pathways must be respected and nurtured, and we believe we can make a compounded impact to that end through our distinct team and training model.
Beyond training, we also invest in our team’s mental health and wellness. We want to bring our whole and best selves to work, but often you have to take care of yourself, before you take care of others. Our Embrace Your Side Hustle program (a monthly stipend given to the team to help them accomplish their goals beyond west~bourne), Mindful Minutes (a grounding, pre-shift breathing and meditative exercise), and our Town Hall meetings where we discuss props (positive feedback), noteworthy progress (what we could do better), and possibilities (creative ideas for our future) are just a few ways we keep our team happy, grounded, and healthy. How we treat, train, and recruit our team members are cornerstones of our philosophy, but our universal mission extends far beyond these practices.
We seek to stretch the boundaries with design by blurring the lines between home and restaurant. Everything at west~bourne is meant to be engaged with and, notably, on display for all of our guests — including an open kitchen where every element of culinary preparation and execution can be engaged with. Furthermore, we constructed an eclectic communal seating design that evokes the experience of a casual, enticing meal at a friend’s house. This purposeful design is conveyed through our use of flora, handcrafted elements and sustainably-sourced natural materials with intentional imperfections. This offers a warm, layered atmosphere ripe with textured refinements inducing an intimate, comfortable feeling — one that inspires patrons to forget they’re in a commercial space. We infuse industrial finishes, custom-curated artwork (including a handmade, one-of-a-kind installation by LA artist Carly Kuhn, aka “The Cartorialist”), clever executions of required postings (including a choking sign created by bi-coastal artist, Mary Tessa Corman) and custom furniture (crafted by Mai Lab) to create west~bourne’s quirky personality and casual, retro-inspired ambiance, redefining the NYC dining experience. Living within a vast and dense city, we tend to operate as islands within a crowded sea of strangers. At west~bourne, we want those separate worlds to collide. We want to bring everyone together and to create a welcoming space for our neighbors and visitors to have an unexpected experience and hopefully meet someone new.
As a forward-thinking business, we understand how vital it is for us to have a worldly perspective that transcends beyond our own impact. That is why we serve an all-day, accidentally vegetarian, and decidedly wholesome menu filled with local, seasonal produce and ingredients that taste great — all while protecting our planet. We also go the extra mile by maintaining a zero-waste operation. Our sustainability practices include, but are not limited to: a waste-efficient menu (in which food scraps are upcycled into various offerings such as compotes and sauces), a food waste compost system, compostable tea bags and to-go packaging, recycled denim napkins (courtesy of Atelier Saucier), and eco-friendly cleaning products and energy efficient equipment. Through these integrative green efforts, we have come to truly understand what it means to be a sustainable business from top to bottom and why it matters.
Our focus on enriching food, welcoming hospitality and guest loyalty all stem from our core values. Rather than being overwhelmed with how many important goals we want to accomplish, we try to understand how these goals are intimately connected and how we can strengthen those synergies. Supporting our local community is only successful if addressed on a guest and team front, inside and out. This support cannot be actualized through solely a fantastic meal or financial job security; it has to go farther. That is why we stand proud as a mission driven, LA-inspired, vegetable-forward and environmentally mindful business. Overall, we are not your average restaurant. We consistently leap beyond the paradigm to make sure our hood, and hopefully the world, become a better place. Some might not be ready for these big dreams and innovations, but we are #bourneready. Are you?