The legendary dining place of the stars was over at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and Doheny in a building that is now a Bristol Farms market. Perhaps, once upon a time, the food was the star attraction but by the time I began going there from time to time in the eighties, the star attraction was the star attraction…being able to say, “Gregory Peck was dining right across the room.” My own most memorable experience there (recounted here) was a meal with Jimmy Stewart. I also lunched there the last day it was open and Nancy Reagan was in the next booth.
For this, one paid about twice the price of similar food almost anywhere else. I never found the meals worth the price and the service, if you weren’t a regular or famous, could be downright curt. I observed the striking contrast when I dined there with Mr. Stewart as opposed to someone who wasn’t famous. I didn’t expect to be treated as courteously when not with Mr. Stewart as with, but the difference was greater than it had to be. The Stewart-less time, we were seated at a table the size of a Cheerios box and the waiter had the attitude of, “Why do I have to wait on you?” with the “you” dripping in dismissal. It must not have been typical of the hospitality there or the place would have closed long before it did.
When it did finally shut down, there were many “end of an era” articles and tributes, all recounting the glory days when you might see Bogart pop in for a bowl of chili. No doubt the fact that it ceased to be “The Place Where the Stars Eat” contributed to its demise but I also think the price/value ratio and catering to the famous had an awful lot to do with it. If you wanted to overpay for London Broil, there were better places to do that. Especially if they didn’t know who you were.