From Washington, Connecticut, Andy Paxson was first introduced to the hospitality industry at fifteen-years-old, working as a busboy at local establishment, The Hopkins Inn. Drawn to the fast pace, orchestrated chaos of the kitchen, Paxson was quickly inspired to start a career in the restaurant industry. Attending college at the University of Connecticut, Paxson worked alongside studying, taking on an introductory role for a catering company. Upon graduation, he spent time working as a server, obtaining further knowledge and hands on experience of the ins and outs of restaurants. Following moving to Los Angeles, California in 1998, he began to quickly increase his responsibilities in hospitality, landing a role as general manager of the Daily Grill. It was here that Paxon met his colleague and future business partner, Ryan Handel.
In 2010, Paxson, Handel, and baker Carrie Cusack established Simplethings Restaurant, a casual sandwich and pie concept located on Los Angeles’ bustling West 3rd Street. Proving to be a success, the team went on to open two additional locations, in Burbank and Westwood, California in 2014. In 2018, Paxson has teamed up with Augustine Wine Bar’s Dave Gibbs and Silvia Gallo to open and co-own Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks, California. Paxson brings his years of experience in front and back of house roles to launch the sushi and wine bar, which offers authentic Japanese cuisine with an extensive wine collection sourced from around the world. Sushi Note encompasses a passion for quality-ingredients, similar to Paxson’s belief that a restaurants passion lies within those that work there.
What do you love most about Your City?
I moved to LA 20 years ago this November. It has been quite a ride. I love the diversity, the flavor, the character and the grind of LA. This city has so many wonderful stories that you find below the surface. It’s a city that requires a little digging. I love that. The artistry that permeates LA is everywhere. I love that in this city people take the time to create street murals that could be in museums. I love that in this city of gloss and excess you can find an underbelly of real people that keep the whole thing moving, with dirt on their hands and sweat in their hair. The restaurant industry in Los Angeles always seems to be at the center of it all. It is a family like no other. It is a passion like no other.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
Sausage Breakfast Burrito from the Monterey Restaurant at the Encino Balboa Golf Course
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – asleep
10:00 AM – nose in the computer. Juggling multiple restaurant brands
12:00 PM - Favorite Power Lunch spot/meal?
Simplethings Burbank. Grilled salmon plate with side pesto cauliflower
7:00 PM - Sushi Note. Supporting the team.
11:00 PM – couch with my wife. TV on. Computer on. Eyelids getting heavy.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
White wine - Give me a crisp Sauv Blanc or a nice Chablis. Heaven. Beer – love me a La Chouffe Belgian Ale. Love me an Alaskan White. Give me something refreshing but with some character (but keep the pumpkins, the cucumbers and the blueberries out of my beer!)
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
App – FotMob, need my updates on my Liverpool Football Club.
Instagram account - @mellypaxson (my wife!)
What should everyone try at least once?
Pizza with extra mushrooms
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Italy, but not too lost please.