Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe | Courtesy of Lowell Farms
No to edible cannabis, yes to smoking at West Hollywood’s Lowell Farms
Greater Los Angeles is preparing to open its first-ever cannabis restaurant in West Hollywood this September. Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe is the first-of-its-kind for Southern California, so the details been somewhat of a mystery — until now — as to just how the business plans to operate, and what exactly it will serve. And though Lowell Farms has the distinction as the city’s first cannabis restaurant, there will be no edibles or any cannabis-infused food served. The only type of cannabis consumption at Lowell Farms is smoking or vaping, which is allowed right at the table.
It’s a bit of a surprise for this new type of restaurant, but that’s largely due to state regulations, and West Hollywood’s restrictive cannabis laws. The standalone city maintains a highly restrictive licensing system with two categories for businesses: one for edibles-only consumption lounges, and the other as a consumption lounge where people can openly consume cannabis edibles, vaporize, or smoke on-site. Lowell Farms is the latter, though the company’s previous plan was to prepare a cannabis-infused menu.
West Hollywood pushed out these consumption area licenses well before the state of California created regulations that address the combination of cannabis and food. But at the very least, Lowell Farms solves a problem by providing a legal place to smoke.
Lowell Farms’ cannabis-free food menu
Lowell Farms’ chef is Andrea Drummer, who started cooking with cannabis in 2011. Here, Drummer will prepare dishes without a single drop of the psychoactive THC, or non-psychoactive CBD. According to the chef, the entire food menu is designed to complement the actual cannabis that will be consumed on-site.
The menu includes grilled peaches and burrata, a fried chicken sandwich, crispy Brussels sprouts, and white bean hummus with crudités. Drummer also built a massive dessert platter with candied bacon, caramel popcorn with Thai chili almonds, peanut butter cookies, sweet potato beignets, crème brûlée, homemade s’mores, and an ice cream sandwich.
Drummer’s goal is to help connect the flavor dots between cannabis and food. “I’m excited to be part of the movement towards the normalization of cannabis use,” says Drummer. “I’m humbled at the opportunity to make this service accessible on a broader scale, and cook for those whose senses will be heightened from cannabis. I’m part of an incredible team to creating a first of its kind restaurant experience and hope customers walk away with a new appreciation for both cannabis and cuisine.”
Drummer’s efforts are best compared with wine pairing, where food and smoking cannabis enhance one another. Lowell Farms’ director Kevin Brady explains how Lowell Farms hopes to accomplish this, saying:
Cannabis contains aromatic compounds that occur naturally in different types of flower, creating unique aromas and flavors. Pairing these aromas and flavors, in addition to the enhancing effects of cannabis, allows chef Drummer to pair a truly unique experience that we can share socially with our guests.
No CBD or THC cocktails, but a “flower host” can assist
California law prohibits the combination of cannabis and alcohol at the same venue, so there will be no cocktails or alcoholic beverages at Lowell Farms. The company partnered with Una Más and the Houston Brothers’ Houston Hospitality to build a mocktail menu focused on fresh ingredients. The Lincoln haze starts with cherry puree, star anise-infused English breakfast tea, cold-pressed lime juice, and an apricot hickory shrub. They’ll smoke the glass with mesquite before garnishing it with edible marigolds and orange peel.
About that actual cannabis experience, expect table side service from a “flower host,” where a staff member selects a strain from Lowell Farms, then roll a joint on the spot.
In recent months, complaints filed in from residents near the restaurant. Lowell figured out how to keep the air clear. “We screened countless air-filtration proposals and selected a system that specializes in local capture – similar to what’s used in a luxury Las Vegas hotel, chemical lab, or hospital,” says Brady. “In addition to the custom air-filtration system, we are planting air-purifying and odor-absorbing landscaping as an additional precaution.” They’ve also built two patios, where the one facing the street — and closest to the Kol Ami synagogue — will be a designated non-smoking area.
Santa Barbara-based Lowell Farms made a name for itself by designing eye-catching pre-rolled joints in stylized vintage boxes, and is one of the few businesses to successfully procure a coveted cannabis consumption license from West Hollywood. Construction started last spring at the former Loreley biergarten. Brothers/partners Mark and Jonnie Houston operate Houston Hospitality, and are best known for Harvard & Stone, La Descarga, and Break Room 86, among others.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe. 1201 N. La Brea Ave, West Hollywood, CA
Source: LA Eater