I cannot believe it has been almost two years since my last post…It is amazing to me how time flies; once you hit 40 it’s like an oil patch…before you know it you’re a senior!!!!
I guess I should start this post with an explanation: What happened, is that just about two years ago I decided to go back to my old career and open a new restaurant; so myself and my two partners went off to buy the old crusty Larchmont Grill in Larchmont Village. After a complete re-do, designed by yours truly, on March of 2013 we opened the doors to The Larchmont restaurant (www.thelarchmont.com), a casual chic, New American cuisine eatery that has quickly become one of LA’s favorite hot spots. Needless to say, having chosen to operate the joint, life, as I knew it, came to a dramatic halt! If you know anything about the restaurant business, you’ll know that it absorbs you completely without leaving you any time for anything else!!!! I haven’t seen anyone, done anything, traveled anywhere; all I’ve been doing is working 14 hours a day, 6 days a week for the last 19 months. Am I crazy??? YES…You have to be to want to own a restaurant. Sadly, this has come at the expense of my beloved blog: “Jet setting on a dime”; in fact, there has been no jet setting at all (give or take a few short escapades in Mexico, Turkey, Greece, Canada, France and Switzerland…but who’s counting?).
My passion for restaurants and food has long been part of the very fabric of my being; but it really all started on March 1990 when myself and my best friend Ilona Margolis, opened the first coffee shop in Los Angeles: The Living Room. It was way before the invasion of Starbucks and Coffee Bean and all the other independent coffee shops; the success was instant and overwhelming, we couldn’t believe how popular this place became with the who’s who of LA society. We were printing money and sadly, spending it just as fast on absolute nonsense. The Coffee shop was on La Brea Avenue and 1st Street, which at the time was as dangerous as opening in South Central (for those who don’t know, it’s a very scary and dangerous area in LA)! Clearly, being held up at gunpoint and robbed silly, became a weekly event; though that didn’t seem to bother anyone; least of all Ilona and myself who thought the robbers were cute. We were featured on all the top newspaper and magazines, including: Wall Street Journal, Vogue, LA Style and the LA Times (Where they misspelled my name with Robert Krass!!! Imagine…my first big review on a main stream newspaper and they call me Mr. KRASS…I was mortified!!! Nothing Krass about me sister…).
Just keep in mind, we are talking about a 300 sq. ft. coffee shop, serving coffee, cakes and sandwiches; though there where rumors running around that Ms. Ilona was serving cheap vodka in tea cups after hours to some customers in our VIP room (yes!!! We had a VIP room in the coffee shop)…just saying. The joint was a favorite hang-out with everyone from Prince to Julia Roberts, Charlie Sheen, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christine Turlington, Mel Gibson, Iggy Pop, Baldazarre Getty, just to name a few. Our own “Barista” was Drew Barrymore (who I love dearly), who didn’t care much about serving customers and more about reading the latest gossip on Vanity Fair, sitting on a milk crate behind the barista bar!
I was hocked!
This was the beginning of a long career in the restaurant industry that continues till present! My first proper restaurant was The Kass Bah on Melrose Avenue, that too became a huge success and a mecca to the likes of George Clooney, Jerry Seinfeld, Elton John, the late Whitney Huston, the Clinton’s, Madonna, Fergie, Gary Oldman and just about every pretty thing in a 15-mile radius. I still cringe thinking about all the crazy nights I had at the KassBah, where it seemed to be a party every night of the week, starting with my Monday Mambo night with live bands straight out of the 50’s Habana Club in Habana Cuba. I sometimes wonder how I am still standing! Thank God I am all grown up now… I opt for more subdued and elegant qualities in life; I’ve replaced swinging from chandeliers drunk like a sailor with pollinating a dining room in a gorgeous Lanvin suit, chatting about food and wines with my new “Foodie” customers…YEAH RIGHT!!!!
The Larchmont: street view
The Larchmont Bar
The Larchmont: front view
Main dining room
The grand opening of The Larchmont was in March 2013 and since my birthday was soon after that, I decided to combine the restaurant opening and my 35th birthday…yes, 35th once again!!!!!! Of course, a party is not a party without my homies: Virginia Madsen with her lovely boyfriend Nick Holmes; my wife Lady “EW” AKA Loree Rodkin, the super talented Monique Lhuillier and her handsome husband Tom Bugbee, Suzanne Saperstein, Alexandra von Furstenberg and the hot Dax Miller, Dan and Justine Joelson, the hilarious Michael Weatherly and his very smart wife Doctor Bojana MD, the uber-charming hotelier Jeff Klein and Richard Appel…just to name a few!
Michael Weatherly with his wife Bojana and Robert Kass
Dax Miller, Alexandra von Furstenberg, Jeff Klein and Robert Kass
The talented Anastacia and Robert Kass
Me and Raquel being our usual silly self.
“Forward to present”: Today the restaurant is a big success and the time has come for me to leave it! I know…it sounds crazy, but that’s what I do! My life is about constant change and growth, it’s about waking up in the morning exited for the day to come; when a job becomes routine to me, it’s time to go! So here I am, once again, ready to jump head first into the unknown; ready to be surprised, inspired, challenged and reassured that there is more for me to learn and discover about myself and the world at large. So expect nothing less than super tasty tales coming your way…Stay tuned!
P.S. And please ignore all the typos and dodgy grammar…I’m European!