Three weeks into October, Echo Park’s Button Mash opened their doors to the public. What had been brewing inside was an amalgamation of many different dreams. Co-founders Jordan Weiss and Gabe Fowlkes met while working in film development, but each of them had wandering passions. Weiss comes from a family with a background in the restaurant industry, and Fowlkes, an avid gamer, grew up working in an arcade. When their friends, Nyguen and Thi Tran of the infamous Starry Kitchen pop-up, found themselves in need of a permanent home, everything seemed to align.
Weiss and Fowlkes turned to Design, Bitches—the team behind the aesthetics of Coolhaus, Superba, and Grill ‘Em All, among others—to transform their space in an unassuming Sunset Blvd strip mall. The result of their collaboration is a space in which it seems almost impossible to be in a bad mood. They’ve found a way to translate that childlike excitement that fills places like Chuck E. Cheese into an adult environment where the design, the food, and the beer are actually really and consistently great.
Button Mash may seem to be a part of the surge in popularity of “barcades” that Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Portland have seen over recent years, but Weiss isn’t so quick to use the term. He says their concept is, “less of a barcade, more of a restaurant with the coolest waiting area ever.”
Weiss brings up another point that seems to be key in Button Mash’s success and future longevity: until 9 pm, it’s all ages. A lot of the people really into these arcade games have kids of their own now, and they want to share that nostalgia with their offspring without sacrificing good food and a night out with their friends. While most of LA’s retro arcades are for the 21+ crowd, everyone’s welcome here.
Button Mash is located at 1391 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles 90026. You can keep up with them on Instagram and Twitter @buttonmashla, on Facebook at facebook.com/ButtonMashLA, through their website, www.buttonmashla.com, or just by giving them a call at (213) 250-9903.