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Day Planner: Where to Take a Business Associate
Rick Caruso, the real estate developer behind some of the most famous outdoor malls in L.A., shares his itinerary to entertain business associates and maybe even strike a deal
The Beverly Hills Hotel
I think it’s the best. The layout and the gardens and the pool and the quality of service there—it’s friendly, it’s warm. It feels like you’re going home. We actually lived there for a while years ago when we were in between houses. We were there for about two months and I loved it. To me, the facilities of a hotel are nice, but it’s all about the people.
The Polo Lounge has a great history to it. It’s old LA. It’s quiet for business meetings in the morning and the food is great. If you want to be a little bit more casual, you can head down by the pool. I’m big on oatmeal in the morning, oatmeal and fruit.
Number two on my list. Again, it’s the setting. It’s unique. You’re in a very urban area but you don’t feel like you are. The group that owns it has a great sense of service and comfort. And it’s not arrogance, I hate that. They just make you feel welcome.
I’m partial to lunch meetings at the Grove, but that’s where I typically have mine. I hit all the restaurants. I do most of my meetings at Whisper Lounge because the food is great and I go to La Piazza or Morels for the people watching.
I know I’m biased here too, but I love the patio at Amici over at Americana. That’s one of my favorite places to go because the view is great. You’re looking over three acres of lawn and a fountain and trees. It’s a magical setting. Where else in L.A. do you get that? It’s a great place to go to conduct business and be relaxed.
I’ve been going to Cut since it opened, and I think Wolfgang Puck is one of the best chefs in the country. I was there last night with two executives out of New York and they loved the food and the wine list. My favorite wine is there. It’s called Poetry, and it’s a great California cabernet and very limited, and I found out it from going to Cut. As I was telling my son last night when I got home, you can do business there and it feels like you’re alive. I like being in places with a sense of positive energy. Nice settings should be fun.
They have a phenomenal outdoor patio. Again, it’s full of people and full of life and you can run into a lot of people that you know. It’s just a fun setting. I always order the Dover Sole. I love it.
I love Madeo. How good does a restaurant have to be to be in the basement and always be packed? Don’t you love that place? I go there a lot. It’s especially good for either celebrating that you got a deal done or for creating a relationship on the front end of a deal. Good food and good wine is a part of that, and having happy waiters and good people around you helps, too.
I always tell people go to Larchmont to walk around. My favorite business there is my barber Jerry, but Larchmont just has a real hometown feel to it. It’s old L.A. and it gives me a great feeling walking up and down the street.
Joan’s on Third
I think 3rd Street—the portion adjacent to the Grove—is awesome. Love Joan’s on Third. It’s one of the best places in the city. I go in there, I grab my coffee—it’s a quick stop. I wish I had a Joan’s near me in Brentwood, and I’ve known Joan for a long time and I’ve told her that. She just wants to be Joan’s on Third.
The Farmers Market
The Farmers Market has got to be the most unusual, unique collection of food anywhere in the country. It’s got great vendors, from Bob’s donuts to Magee’s. How would you ever not tell someone to go visit the farmers market? And it’s actually a great place from a business standpoint. We do a lot of business over there. You can walk over casually, relax, and have a conversation.
I think Rodeo has missed the mark, but it’s still Rodeo. Not seeing it would be like going to Paris and not looking at the Eiffel Tower. It’s not the most interesting thing in Paris, but you have to see it, so you see it. Well, when you’re in LA., you have to see Rodeo Drive. I have my suits made from an old, old store there, one of the original stores on Rodeo Drive, and that place still has soul. It’s one of the few places that do. It’s Battaglia, and I love that place.
Photographs courtesy (in order of appearance): thebeverlyhillshotel.com, thebeverlyhillshotel.com, hotelbelair.com, thegrovela.com, amicila.com, fourseasons.com, boasteak.com, google.com, larchmontla.com, joansonthird.com, flickr.comNatalieMaynor, flickr.com/ChrisBrown