Executive Briefing

Why Jon & Vinny’s LA restaurant group just bought a tiny grocery chain

In the Instacart era, “we feel that the neighborhood grocery is going to become important again.”

Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook
Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook / Photos courtesy

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Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have attracted national recognition for their Los Angeles-based restaurant group by driving food and dining trends — their first place, Animal, was loud and meat-focused “dude food,” perfectly timed for the late-aughts bacon boom — and by partnering with rising chefs on new ventures, such as Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson’s acclaimed Kismet.

Now there’s something new in the mix: This fall, Shook and Dotolo acquired a tiny and beloved 10-year-old neighborhood grocery chainlet, Cookbook, from its founders, Marta Teegen and Robert Stelzner.

An interesting move. And perhaps a strategic one, as the Covid-19 pandemic rolls into its second year, dining rooms (or improvised parking lot patios) are closing again, and the lines between restaurants and grocery stores are further blurring.

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Dan Frommer

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