Is there such a concept as clown free? To the owner of Fenix 5-4, in historic Uptown Whittier, the term exists and it means something completely different from what is implied. The establishment, owned by Kyle Koestner, is a visual cornucopia of art as well as an eatery and organic juice bar designed to provide a food experience that energizes. Walking into the venue, the art all around draws your attention. Among the displays, four heads from four major food chains (Wendy’s, Jack -in-the-box, McDonald’s and Burger King) stare out. They represent what Fenix 5-4 is not: fast food. All food used to make dishes at this eatery is high quality; the meats are roasted on site and the salads prepared fresh daily, right when ordered, while the juices are made from organic fruits and vegetables. For those preferring something different to drink, the liquor offered provides just what you need to slake your thirst. It is organic, and sustainable, with some made at monasteries. These are limited production beers from all around the world.
If the food does not draw people in, it is the atmosphere and visual aspects of the establishment that do. There is one display with two dollar ponies from the 1950’s, which aims to show a “slice of life” from the 50’s, according to Koestner. On top of the cooler that houses the liquor in the eatery, there are colorful flower ornaments from the 1970’s, and there is also a life-size mannequin, sitting down on a throne with a mask on, representing the face of who is popular at the present time. President Obama’s face is on the mannequin at this time. Music is also incorporated into this visual and taste filled establishment. It is a mix of indie and other music that is not mainstream. When asked about why the differing artistic themes are all grouped the way they are in the eatery, Koestner replied that it is a way to try and “help foster art” because he believes it will “lead our community into the next substantial growth.” There are also old photographs Koestner owns from the 1950’s, all with a story behind them, that he is more than happy to talk about. These photographs can be purchased on shirts that are sold in the eatery.
Still, for those who are looking for something more, do not be surprised if one day the eatery has one theme, and a few weeks later it has another. As art is constantly evolving, so are the themes in this eatery. Everyone likes to see change because they like to have something different to look at. If some customers still want something else, there are a variety of events that take place in the eatery. Every Thursday night is open mic night, and Friday nights there is karaoke (starting in February). Around every six weeks there is an event called the “cosmonot club” where customers dress up in Soviet garb and get their pictures taken and put onto an i.d card that has a soviet backing, to go along with the day’s theme. There is something for everyone at this eatery and juice bar, and be assured that it is a worthwhile place to visit, and get an artistic lesson at the same time. If visiting and not sure what to eat, try the chicken paco.