The fact that Sal’s Place, the Provincetown Italian restaurant owned by Michela Murphy and her mother, Siobhan Carew, is a “very outdoors” restaurant is a plus in summer. But what happens when balmy become blustery, and the winter chill sets in?
“We’ve done pop-ups in Provincetown,” said Murphy. “And we loved them.” But nothing local was working out for this past winter.
The idea to pop up in California started as a joke. “A lot of our guests are snowbirds,” said Murphy. “ ‘What if you came out to L.A?’ they’d say.” Once they knew they wouldn’t be cooking in Provincetown past New Year’s Eve, “We packed everything up and drove west.”
The two-car caravan arrived in West Hollywood in late January, energized by the road trip: “There’s this whole middle of the country that people don’t usually see,” Murphy said, remembering the snow on the mountains of Colorado.
The pop-up opened in late March after two months of painting and setup. It wasn’t easy, but her mom especially loved “the weather and the architecture and all of the creative people,” Murphy said. “She’d definitely be the first to say, ‘Let’s do it again.’ ”
Their West Coast winter incarnation was at Il Piccolino. Silvio De Mori and Eddie Kerkhof’s white-tablecloth-but-homey Italian restaurant that closed last August after 20 years had, said Murphy, “the same kind of old-school vibe as Sal’s Place.” Though California meant different produce and new fish markets to explore, Murphy said many of the guests at the pop-up were connected to Provincetown in some way — summertime fans who live in L.A.
“We always talk about the great community we have here,” said Murphy. “The fact that it stretches 3,500 miles is pretty cool.”