| BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., June 6
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., June 6 The din of voices
haggling over movies and pitching TV series, as familiar as the
trademark meatloaf and grilled salmon, will soon disappear from
Kate Mantilini, the Beverly Hills restaurant whose booths have
long been a mainstay of Hollywood's power lunch crowd.
Situated on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Beverly
Hills, Kate Mantilini - a favorite of comedian Mel Brooks and
late director Billy Wilder - will close its doors and pack up
its wood-backed booths on June 14 after 27 years.
"Many, many deals were made in those booths," said Adam
Lewis, the restaurant's chief executive who made the decision to
close after a rent increase. An outpost in Woodland Hills in Los
Angeles' San Fernando Valley will remain open.
"There's a semblance of privacy in there, but you can hear
everything everybody is saying," added Lewis, 59, whose older
brother David is the executive chef. "I've listened to pitches
go down; some were really good, some I can't believe they made
it this far."
The restaurant's popularity among the Hollywood set was down
in part to its location, said Tim Gray, a senior vice president
of trade publication Variety.
It sits across from film studio The Weinstein Co and two
blocks from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the
industry organization that hands out the Oscars.
"It really was one of the staples for industry lunches,"
Gray said of the restaurant that is arranged like a postmodern
diner with a large sculptural sundial, a key early work by
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne's firm, Morphosis.
Kate Mantilini ranks as a top 10 business lunch spot for
entertainment industry insiders, according to a Hollywood
"Everybody who comes here is an agent or lawyer or a manager
and everybody table-hops - and they rely on good food," Lewis
said, sitting at a round table with his brother and 84-year-old
mother, Marilyn, who started the restaurant with her late
husband Harry Lewis, a former Warner Bros contract actor and
founder of popular chain Hamburger Hamlet.
The restaurant also served as a backdrop in Michael Mann's
1995 crime drama "Heat" starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
"It was a real industry hangout ... because it had this
amazing, huge menu," Gray said. "They had everything in the
world on it." Dishes include chicken pot pie and other comfort
foods, and health-conscious staples such as brown rice with
Marilyn Lewis, a self-described born-marketer who ran her
own couture clothing line Cardinali in the 1960s-70s, said she
named the restaurant after her uncle's mistress, whose long
red-polished fingernails enthralled her as a child.
"I liked the sound of it, and it would take a lot of
letters, a lot of signage," she said. "It is important for this
fast traffic because when they stop at the light and they see
that big sign, they've got to know that something's going on
(Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Mohammad Zargham)