Papaya King Brings More Than Hotdogs To LA
By Scott Huver
The Sayers Club
|Papaya King’s Side On Top specialty frankfurter with chili, cheese and curly fries|
Hot dawg! Papaya King has hit Hollywood. Fans of the New York City outpost’s famed frankfurters, curly fries and fresh, fruity drinks have been salivating over its arrival (no less than Julia Child proclaimed PK’s franks to be New York’s best), with local scenesters shaking their buns at a new nightspot adjoining the hot doggery.
Papaya King’s been serving up sensational smoothies and wondrous wieners like the Homerun (slugger Babe Ruth was reportedly the regular who provided the restaurant with its regal moniker) since 1932, becoming an indelible landmark at East 86th Street and Third Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side. In fact, it’s such a staple, the eatery is often referenced in travel guides and on TV shows (Seinfeld’s Kramer was a fan).
And while its LA outpost at Hollywood and Wilcox (the former Nacional locale) is expected to lure legions of locals and tourists alike for a comparable stand-up dining experience, after dark, its adjoining Sayers Club—under the auspices of the powerhouse scene-making SBE and Bardot impresario Jason Scoppa—offers a more exclusive experience where the most elite scenesters can ketchup—er, catch up behind the Day-Glo façade.
Beyond a bright yellow, otherwise nondescript door off the juice bar that appears to be a storage closet, lurks a moody, sexy, live-music-oriented nightlife experience reserved only for those in the know. It’s all reclaimed wood, steel and iron, softened by vintage tufted-leather sofas and afghan throws, with a stage that lowers from the ceiling to settle between two impressionistic Alison Van Pelt paintings.
With Gibson providing incredibly rare axes and instruments for the unannounced musicians (Miles Davis’ longtime keyboardist Deron Johnson pops in frequently to stage free-form jazz nights) and SBE master mixologist Ryan Magarian’s cocktail concoctions, it’s no wonder Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (the nights the club is open) have lured in the likes of Chris Pine, Leighton Meester, Aaron Paul, Malin Akerman and Jeremy Piven. The latter even provided an impromptu drum solo for the assembled entourages on the club’s opening night.
Frankly, the arrival of Papaya King and The Sayers Club is really something to relish. 1645 Wilcox Ave., LA
PHOTOGRAPH BY RYAN FORBES/AVABLU.COM (THE SAYERS CLUB)