Building a Blockbuster Restaurant, One Tile at a Time

RepubliqueSource: Eater

It took chef Walter Manzke and his kitchen crew eight hours to unload 5,000 tiles, 12,000 board feet of Yakal wood, and miscellaneous pieces of wrought iron from a 40-foot container shipped from the Philippines to Los Angeles. These were the raw materials that now shape Los Angeles restaurant Republique — which opened late last year — from floor to ceiling. Why the Philippines? Manzke operates two cafes in Manila and importing the building supplies was more cost effective than shopping domestically in the US. But you'd never know it from looking at Republique.

An Unexpected Opening

The multi-faceted stunner of a restaurant, café, bakery, and wine bar — co-designed by architect Osvaldo Maiozzi and contracted by Dan Barling — was thrust into the spotlight last November when OpenTable mistakenly permitted early table reservations at Republique. Manzke and his team, including wife and pastry chef Margarita Manzke, were not prepared to serve customers. Construction was ongoing and employees had yet to be trained.

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