Countless thoughts run through the mind of a restaurant owner when they’re handed the phone and told that a customer wants to speak with them. As Kerry Krull, owner of local favorites Romancing the Bean and The New Deal, braced for a possible complaint one evening from a woman on the other end of the line, she was instead reminded of the importance her two restaurants have to the Toluca Lake community.
“The woman called The New Deal in tears and told me that her family had a very bad day because they had to put a family pet down,” Krull says. “She was so grateful they had a good meal to enjoy here at the end of the day. A little appreciation goes a long way with us, and it’s what keeps us going. We love our customers!”
Step inside either of Krull’s establishments, located across the street from each other on Magnolia Boulevard, and her love and admiration for the community become abundantly clear. The perfect balance of modern and old-time elegance inside Romancing the Bean, a local staple for over 27 years, is both a nod to Toluca Lake’s small-town charm and a way for customers to always feel at home. At The New Deal, which opened in 2016, everything about the 1930s-themed restaurant says old-time Americana, from the classic Mama’s Meatloaf, a meal made popular in the ’30s, to the vintage relics that decorate the space — not to mention the name of the business itself.
“A close family friend suggested the name ‘The New Deal,’ since the neighborhood was built in the 1930s and was known for antiques and secondhand clothing stores, plus, of course, there was Roosevelt Elementary School down the street,” Krull says. “We loved the name, so I started creating a retro but elevated American cuisine menu, pulling from old family recipes and researching what was popular in that era. Our goal and mission are to be a cozy and nostalgic family neighborhood restaurant.”
Creating such a unique experience doesn’t happen alone. Krull’s two children, Kendra Krull-Simon and Ramsey Krull, also happen to be her business partners. Kendra was the mastermind behind the expertly crafted interior design and décor of both restaurants, including the menu layout and overall aesthetic, while Ramsey runs the restaurants’ social media accounts, supervises the craft beer program, handles the back-end computer work and helps manage the business. The partnership gives Krull, the executive chef, more opportunity to perfect the menu, bake desserts and focus on the business side.
“The three of us have completely different talents that we bring to the table, and though we have had our share of head-butting and different ideas about certain things, we’ve made it work,” Krull says.
The help of her children became even more important during The New Deal’s first year in business, an experience Krull described as “having our own reality show because it was a complete cluster of a restaurant startup and everything that could go wrong, did.”
However, thanks to “stellar staff who always go above and beyond and keep a positive attitude,” the restaurant quickly got into a groove, and customers soon came flocking. So too did the recognition. For Krull, a graduate of the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu institute, one of her proudest moments came when she received the Business Woman of the Year award from Senator Anthony Portantino.
Just as the community has supported Romancing the Bean and The New Deal throughout the years, Krull has often returned the favor by giving back whenever she can. “We really do strive to give a lot back, and we pretty much never say no to anybody,” she says. “We support local schools, churches, synagogues, the police and fire department and many others. We also try to support the community by buying local and fresh produce and meat and fish from as many local vendors as we can.”
When it comes to shopping and dining, Krull also frequently puts the neighborhood first. “Where I get 75% of my holiday shopping done is at Bell Cottage, Stay Home Friend (formerly Mindfulnest), Phoebe Peacock, Crystal Shrine and a cute new French store that just opened called Petit Parisien,” she says. “Although Toluca Lake has grown and evolved over the years, it still has a very small-town feel. I can go to dinner and sit out on the patio and see five people I know walk by. Where else does that happen in Los Angeles?”