For three decades the biggest names in show business, and the top behind-the-scenes moguls worked the room during power lunches at the iconic Grill on the Alley. Rivaled only by Spago, getting a tables at the Grill were reserved mostly for A-listers and super agents. Every now and then a mere mortal could score a reservation, and when they did they got an eyeful of famous faces.
All the tinsel town glitz aside, the food was also a big lure to the Grill, and still is. It’s some of the best in Los Angeles and has been since it was opened in 1984 by Hollywood players Bob Spivak, Mike Weinstock and Richard Shapiro, who came across the space now known as The Grill on the Alley, the entrance to the building was located on Wilshire Boulevard. The story goes that the noisy and unattractive entrance clashed with the type of ambiance they were trying to cultivate. In a bold move the partners decided to relocate the entrance to the alleyway behind the building to give the restaurant a more exclusive feel. However, the city of Beverly Hills prohibited the use of the alley as a business entrance. In a stroke of genius, Spivak painted the address 9560 Dayton Way on a mailbox, hung it on the corner of the alley, and mailed himself a letter. He then used that letter to prove that the alley entrance was a viable business address. Thus, The Grill on the Alley was born.
The men modeled the restaurant after the grills of the 1930s and 40s in New York and San Francisco managing to maintain the aura of these traditional establishments by offering classic American fare and good service in a dignified atmosphere. The Grill become known for dishes such as Prime New York Pepper Steak, Pan Fried John Dory, Chicken Pot Pie and their signature Cobb Salad.
Fun facts regulars know but you may not:
- The restaurant has 14 booths – all highly coveted as the most popular for the power lunch crowd.
- The Arnold Palmer remains the most popular drink for power lunching guests.
- In the history of the restaurant, only three maître d’s have graced the front of the house. The current maître d’ is Pamela Gonyea is one of the restaurant’s beloved team members and has been with The Grill on the Alley for 12 years.
- The head chef, Israel “Izzy” Camacho, started as a broiler on the day the restaurant opened. Through hard work and dedication he eventually took the helm as the restaurant’s head chef in 2008.
- As the years went on it became easier for ordinary foodies to get a table at the Grill, but not necessarily the one of the ‘alley’ in Beverly Hills. The company expanded in 1998 opening one in San Jose followed by another in Chicago in 2000 and one in Hollywood in 2001. There are also Grills in Dallas, Westlake Village (California) an Aventura, Florida.
For the 30th anniversary the restaurants are offering new choices such as:
- Cauliflower Gratin – Roasted cauliflower with Emmental cheese sauce, crispy bacon and crusty bread crumbs
- ◦ Chipotle Cheddar Cream Corn – Sweet cream corn with hints of chipotle chilies topped with a crunchy panko topping
- ◦ Braised Brussels Sprouts – Roasted Brussels sprouts with carrot, onion and bacon hash drizzled with balsamic vinegar and tossed with roasted pecans
- ◦ Wild Mushroom Risotto – A variety of wild mushrooms slowly cooked with arborio rice risotto until tender, finished with butter and fresh grated grana padano
- ◦ Lobster Mashed Potatoes – Yukon gold mashed potatoes tossed with Maine lobster claws and knuckles and drizzled with brown butter and chopped chives
New Steaks and Chops:
- 12 oz. Prime New York Steak
- 20 oz. Cowboy’s Rib-Eye Steak – Prime bone-in
New preparation styles for steaks: Boef Onions with Bordelaisem Béarnaise Sauce and Green Peppercorn Sauce
- Australian Twin Lobster Tails
- Center Cut Blackened Ahi Tuna Steak
- Spinach Salad – Fresh baby spinach tossed with sliced button mushrooms, red onions and egg tossed with a warm bacon vinaigrette
- Filet Steak Salad - Grilled filet mignon served over mixed field greens with roasted red bell peppers, asparagus, gorgonzola, herbed crostinis, and basil tossed in balsamic vinaigrette and topped with crispy onion strings
And last but hardly least three new topping for the ever popular sour dough bread that include: a fresh sundried tomato tapenade and extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper and thyme
Your LA Travel Diva Examiner (and Richard) are heading over to the Beverly Hills restaurant next week to sample the new fare and do a little star gazing. It’s been a while since we were there so we’re looking forward it and to reporting back on our findings.
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While the Grill on Alley celebrates 30 years in business, Beverly Hills hits 100 (see video).