You might think helming the two-part climactic entry to one of cinema’s most storied film franchises is enough to keep a director busy.
But while brother and co-director Anthony Russo is holding down the Avengers: Infinity War fort in Atlanta ahead of Part 2’s 2019 release, Joe Russo has found the time to open up his very first L.A. restaurant: Simone.
The venue was profiled this weekend in Observer after it bowed on Friday with an opening party that included MCU actors such as Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, and Marisa Tomei.
What are Russo’s culinary inspirations? Among them, none other than a historic Czech brewery and pub right in the center of Prague.
Before directing the hit TV show Community, Chicago natives Joe and Anthony Russo were flying high after acclaimed work on Fox’s Arrested Development and the hit 2006 comedy You, Me and Dupree.
During that time, Joe’s world travels brought him to Scotland, where his daughter attended college, and Prague, where he fondly remembered the community brewery and beer hall U Fleků.
The Prague pub “serves pork chops on the back patio for, like, a dollar and the barkeep walks around with trays filled with traditional Czech liquor,” Russo told Observer’s Sheila Marikar.
“It’s all communal seating. It’s an amazing way to meet people, and everybody has a blast because you’re a couple shots in halfway through your pork chop.”
U Fleků has what you might call a storied history: records date the venue back to 1499, giving it more than five centuries of continuous operation and making it the one of the oldest pubs in Central Europe.
Located at Křemencova 11 around the corner from Karlovo náměstí in Prague’s New Town, U Fleků’s spacious interior include eight separate beer halls and a garden. It’s menu includes Czech classics like svíčková (beef in a creamy vegetable sauce) and koleno (pork knee), and a house-made beer, Flekovský ležák 13°.
At Russo’s new restaurant Simone, meanwhile, located in the heart of L.A.’s arts district, you may not see much of a Czech influence in the international menu prepared by chef Jessica Largey. It includes items such as Pork Collar with baby bok choy and braised fresh peanuts, and a Hangar Steak with roasted black radish and garlic chive kimchi.
But on the drinks list, Russo managed to squeeze in that favorite herbal Czech liquor. At Simone, however, Becherovka runs $11.00 a shot – – a far cry from local Prague prices.