True to its name, All Time in Los Feliz has always managed to strike a balance between casual cafe during the day and elegant, full service dinner at night. Few spots manage to pull off either the daytime coffee shop/gathering place vibe or a formal evening atmosphere, but the combined experience of the restaurant’s owner couple, Ashley Wells (née Ragovin) and her husband Tyler Wells, means the pair can execute both with ease. If you look at the restaurant’s logo — an A and T with a line connecting them — the name, and the concept itself, starts to make even more sense.
Tyler is the Intelligentsia-trained, Handsome Coffee Roasters co-founder behind their espresso bar (and as if that wasn’t enough he’s also a chef to boot), and Ashley came up working in hospitality, running wine programs and managing at places like Osteria Mozza, Animal and Trois Mec. When burnout threatened her creativity, she founded the popular wine club and online shop Pour This to spotlight obscure and oddball wine producers. Together, they took over a spot on Hillhurst that features mostly patio seating and turned it into a restaurant that serves what they call “California Backyard Cuisine.” It feels more like a delightful old cottage than a contemporary eatery, and is stuffed with personal photos and knick-knacks without becoming cluttered.
Since opening in 2018, All Time has been steadily pivoting — their day and night duality and the flexibility of their setup becoming a huge part of the draw, and culminated in the family style takeout setup dubbed Part Time. Given that infrastructure, they were able to be early responders when the reality of a pandemic began to threaten the hospitality industry in LA and adapted quickly. In mid-March, as precautions to halt the spread of COVID-19 made it clear that restaurants would soon be closing, All Time had already shifted to take out-only dining, and a market setup to sell goods and wholesale items was on the way shortly after.
“The logistics were a bit chaotic feeling at first, because we completely re-engineered our way of doing business, and they settled and streamlined fairly quickly,” the Wells explained in an email interview about their response to the pandemic. “The process was fast and furious and a thing we had to figure out as we went; we knew we had access to great and sustainable sources of produce, meat, and other items, we knew there was a need in the community for these things, and we knew we wanted to continue to support our suppliers, many of which are small family businesses or farms.”
Sourcing locally has been a backbone of the All Time model for the last two years, including the seasonally-shifting ingredients that are grown in their own garden for dishes like the Good Ass Salad ($16.50, still available for pickup). As California’s farmers and other local food producers are threatened by the pressure the recent shutdown has had on the market, All Time’s work to provide an outlet for these wholesalers to retail their food is just as important as staying open to support their own employees.
“We have kept everything in-house so to speak, in order to keep our staff working,” they explained. “For the utmost ability to keep safety and health standards under our own roof, and to keep ourselves free of being dependent on third party apps that are parasitic in their model. Simply shopping with us is saving our business; we have committed to providing nearly anything people need or want, and we only need to do it through a slightly strange channel, but if people are willing to support us and trust us by coming to us for their essentials and their indulgences, we are going to keep showing up.”
Those essentials and indulgences include everything from their infamous focaccia thick with burrata, tomatoes, and olive oil ($16.50), to dry goods staples like rice and beans, organic eggs, pints of lamb ragu ($18) or whole chickens and boneless ribeye. And, of course, lots and lots of options for high-end coffee beans at $18 a bag. Their grocery boxes — a new kind of staple in this safer-at-home reality — include market produce that comes straight from farmers who would otherwise be left in the lurch ($62), a fruit box $25), a burger dinner kit for up to four ($55) and a wellness brew kit replete with turmeric, ginger, oregano and more ($18).
Massive survival kits in the $250 range come in meat, vegetarian, and pescatarian varieties, and could feed a whole army — or a hungry household for a couple weeks. A special edition priced at $500 includes 8 bottles of wine along with the food, and for the wine connoisseur with cash to burn, a 12-bottle doomsday fuck it pack with a $1500 price tag is actually a steal. If you can invest, do! Finally, in what is perhaps the most tender gesture of the whole enterprise, there’s a two-page sheet of cooking instructions pinned to the top of their website, offering playfully detailed directions on cooking burgers, spaghetti, salmon, steak, and whole chickens.
“We were surprised at how many questions we were getting from folks about how to cook things, even a simple vegetable or ready to bake item,” the couple shared. “Since we had this need, we decided to meet people where they were, and make it fun. Everyone has much more time at home, and that means people who weren’t cooking before are discovering it for maybe the first time. Being a part of this journey for members of our community has been really nurturing for us as it has hopefully been for them!”
For those who are still lucky enough to have an income, and even for others who might be scraping by, shopping at a local market through a restaurant like All Time might be a few blocks farther away than the grocery store, or slightly less convenient, but that small choice could also be the difference between these pillars of our community surviving — or not. And when did a massive chain grocery store ever take the time to explain exactly how to season and cook the food it sells?
The flexible and funny human touches behind All Time has been the restaurant’s best quality from the start, and that same personality is what is carrying it through this crisis. And even if they can’t be the ones cooking the food, seeing their community enjoying food and breaking bread together at home is part of what keeps the team going.
“We love sharing recipes and tricks for cooking, and love seeing what people are creating from home with the goods they get at All Time,” they said. “We also love showing people that cooking can be very simple, approachable and easy, because that’s how we have always approached the menu.”