Staff Joined Forces Among Themselves to Create a New Type of Ownership
By Zach Armstrong
An iconic dining gem for West L.A. made headlines recently with news that it would end operations sometime this month, while the space awaited Wolfgang Puck to rebuild it with his own vision.
However, the Pacific seaside restaurant Gladstone’s will stay open under a new management team before it gets replaced by Puck and architect Frank Gehry.
Former Mayor Richard Riodan held an agreement with the County to operate Gladstone’s, but the family did not want to bid on an extension once it ended. According to General Manager Jim Harris, ownership of the restaurant went to a trust which doesn’t run restaurants around the time the lease was up. Once it was clear there would be a two-year absence in the space, the county approached Gladstone’s staff to ask if they could carry on for community benefit.
Not only did they agree, but joined forces among themselves to create a new type of ownership for the oceanfront outpost. Whereas the restaurant was previously under the ownership of Sea View Restaurants LLC, it is now owned by Gladstone’s Legacy which is composed of Harris, the assistant manager, the chef and the parking lot manager.
While Gladstone’s (located at 17300 Pacific Coast Highway) will likely remain in operation for at least another two years, Harris said an exact time frame is not yet determined. Harris also expressed his approval of Wolfgang’s future plans for the dining space.
“We’re not affiliated with Wolfgang, but we’re very supportive and looking forward to his ambitious project that he’s trying to do on the coast,” Harris said.
Along with the move to stay open, Gladstone’s has also launched a way to celebrate its “Golden Era” every weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a new take on happy hour. Launched on Oct. 9, its “70s Vibe Golden Hour” provides a cost of $7 each for calamari, burgers, fish & chips, pina coladas, malibu margs and parking. Also featured are $5 beer and wine along with food and drink specials.
The property is anchored on a total 2.8-acre parcel and housed Gladstone’s for over 50 years. Puck said that he will deliver the new restaurant replacement with an “approachable, high-quality cuisine in a distinct architectural setting”. Gehry, the man behind its upcoming design, is a household name in architecture.
Gehry is an award-winning architect behind projects such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (called “the greatest building of our time” by Philip Johnson) and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. He also worked to enhance acoustics at the Hollywood Bowl and was selected to convert an old warehouse into a Temporary Contemporary exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1989, Gehry was awarded the international architecture award the Pritzker Prize.