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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Theater Space’s Next Stage

During its 10 years in operation, the Avery Schreiber Theatre carved out a niche in North Hollywood, hosting local troupes such as Red Brick Road and an improv school for kids. But on July 1, the 11050 Magnolia Blvd. theater took its final curtain call and in its unlikely place will open a gastro pub called Fat Dog. Restaurateurs Richard Mandeville and wife Susan, along with chef John Gladish, leased the space from building owner Linda Fulton, who decided she no longer wanted to operate the theater after her husband’s death a few years ago. “As soon as we came across the Schreiber Theatre it was too good to pass up,” said Mandeville, 38. “We want to expand, but not aggressively.” This will be the third Fat Dog location, with the first opening in Montrose six years ago and a second in Hollywood in 2011. Fulton, who has performed on stage, decided to close down the theater after having taken a leave of absence from the operation to help nurse her husband, who had helped finance the theater and died from liver disease in 2010. During that time, her manager ran the theater day-to-day. When she returned, she found it a struggle. “Running the theatre was a lot of financial pressure. It became a lot of responsibility,” said Fulton, 54. The building had previously been named the Bitter Truth Theatre and was where Fulton studied and performed with actor Avery Schreiber. She bought the building in 2004 and named it after her mentor. Fulton, however, is not totally leaving the theater world. She founded Total Improv Kids, a theater school for children more than a decade ago, and is moving that to the nearby Sherry Theater. Meanwhile, the theater is being completely transformed into restaurant space for Fat Dog, which will have nearly 4,000 square feet, including a full kitchen, bar and outdoor patio. The restaurant sells bar food favorites with gourmet ingredients, such as potato skins with crab, asparagus and hollandaise sauce. A French dip sandwich gets upgraded with gruyere cheese. Not to be forgotten is the fat dog itself – an all-beef hot dog that exceeds the size of its bun. Cocktails are exotic too. The Key Lime Pug features vanilla-flavored vodka, Malibu rum, fresh lime and pineapple. It should open by the end of the year. “She’s a great landlord to have for what we’re doing,” Mandeville said. – Megan Diskin

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