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Restaurants & Bars 10

"Upscale" chains (longish, rambling)

R Gould-Saltman | Sep 9, 200110:20 AM

Spent my last two dinners at "Downtown Disney" (business meetings) and came away vaguely unsettled. One each at Brennan's and at what I believe is a J. Splichal place (name escapes me just now). There's a La Brea Bakery there, too.

The ambiance of the whole place struck me as a little strange, at least in part because the entire place was built from scratch six months ago; it's a "downtown" built like a housing tract, or more precisely, like a movie set or theme park. It thus manages to have even less collective history than greater Los Angeles, or Orange, for that matter. There are those, particularly with kids, who prefer it to an older grittier neighborhood; can't say their preference is wrong, it just isn't mine....

But, (to get toward where I was going) what are the collective thoughts of the "chain-ization" of restaurants, particularly chef-driven places, which initially traded on a somewhat individual, and (say, in Splichal's case) quirky take on food? Are they bringing good taste to the masses, or have they simply found a newer and more lucrative way to scam the rubes?


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