Years of Participation
James Beard award winning chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are the owners of Joint Ventures Restaurant Group, which includes animal, Son of a Gun, Jon & Vinny’s (Fairfax + Brentwood + Slauson), helen’s (Fairfax + Brentwood + Slauson), Cookbook Market (Highland Park + Echo Park). The duo has been credited with innovating and changing the dining scene in Los Angeles through their roster of critically acclaimed restaurants.
Their partnership began over a decade ago when they met in culinary school at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. They traveled west and landed in Los Angeles in 2002 where they launched their initial catering company, Carmelized Productions.
Shook and Dotolo aspired for more. In the spring of 2008, they opened animal followed by Son of a Gun in 2011. These two progressive restaurants put them on the map as culinary all stars in Los Angeles.
Each restaurant concept reflects a different stage of life for Shook & Dotolo. In 2015, each with kids, they set out to create a neighborhood joint where they could enjoy meals with their families. They opened Jon & Vinny’s, an all-day Italian American diner with a casual and welcoming vibe. In tandem with Jon & Vinny’s, they partnered with Helen Johannesen and opened helen’s, a wine shop that focuses on naturally-driven and organically farmed labels with small production. Shook, Dotolo and Johannesen opened their second locations in Brentwood in the start of 2019 and their third location in November 2021 on Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles. The trio is slated to open their fourth location in Beverly Hills this month.
Continuing to expand their group, they acquired Cookbook Market, a micro-grocery with locations in Echo Park and Highland Park at the end of 2020. It’s known for its quality seasonal farmer’s market produce and unique specialty items.