The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to move forward in negotiating a 50-year lease with Wolfgang Puck to open a Frank Gehry-designed restaurant on the waterfront site along Pacific Coast Highway currently occupied by Gladstones.
“It will be a restaurant for everybody in the city,” Puck said, telling the board the property will include a casual, more affordable cafe, an upscale dining room and an ice cream shop for families to drop in.
Puck’s restaurant empire started 36 years ago when he opened Spago in West Hollywood. “Last year was our best year yet,” he said, pointing to continuity in operations — Spago, Beverly Hills, is still a top dining draw — as a reason to choose him to take over the site.
The restaurateur said it was his “my lifelong dream” to work with Gehry, whose architectural landmarks include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Puck shared preliminary conceptual drawings for the project showing a long, light-toned structure lying along the highway that connects three distinct window-walled sections opening onto the beach side of the property.
The board’s vote was 3-1, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger dissenting. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was out of town.
Barger objected because of concerns raised by another bidder, who claimed there were flaws in the selection process and urged the board to delay the vote until all members were present.
Department of Beaches and Harbors Director Gary Jones assured the board that the process followed all applicable rules and that the losing bidder was ranked significantly behind the winner.