A Contender Elbows In

March 28, 2011

A FEW weeks ago, Craig Susser, the former manager of the legendary Hollywood restaurant Dan Tana’s, interrupted a morning of paperwork to take a call from one of its regulars, the three-time Stanley Cup champion Junior Langlois.

One might also expect Dan Tana, who is 75, to be upset that his ex-employee — in another ritual of the restaurant business — rallied investors for his new place, including the billionaire Gary Winnick and the producer Jerry Weintraub, from within Dan Tana’s ranks. Mr. Susser, 45, said he’d been led to believe he was the heir apparent to Mr. Tana, and was taken aback when Mr. Tana sold his place to a friend, Sonja Perencevic, in 2009.

(Read more via The New York Times.)

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In my sixty years of observing the restaurant scene in Los Angeles, I have never before seen a new restaurant open its doors right on the heels of a favorable full-page article in the New York Times about its owner (and, incidentally, without once mentioning its food!) The story, headlined “In L.A., a Restaurant Contender Elbows In,” details how Craig Susser, the long-time manager of a legendary Italian celebrity joint in West Hollywood, Dan Tana’s, recently left there after the 75-year-old owner sold it (supposedly for $6 million!) to someone else (a Croatian countryman of his).

One of my long-time readers, billionaire Gary Winnick, emailed me that “Craig is a very talented guy, and will succeed because he understands the marketplace and, most importantly, his customers. That’s why they keep coming back.” Gary invested in the restaurant, so I don’t know if his judgment is impartial, but he is a very hip guy so I kind of trust his acumen. He also alerted me to several dishes which I tried when my ex took me there for my birthday.

(Read more via The Huffington Post.)