Just when you thought it was safe to dine in the Hollywood Hills, now comes news that Los Angeles' favorite longtime restaurant could be in dire straights once again. The will-they-won't-they saga of the century-old Yamashiro just above Hollywood has seen them go from forced sale to presumed safety, only to now be back on the ropes.
The LA Times says that all is not well between primary Yamashiro owner Thomas Glover and the inbound Chinese hotel group that recently purchased the restaurant and all associated property for $40 million. While that company, one JE Group, has a history in China of purchasing and protecting heritage sites, it seems they may be asking for a rental increase that would far surpass what Glover and the current Yamashiro restaurant operators could take on.
Glover spoke at length to the Times about the dire situation, reporting that the Chinese group is asking for an astronomical monthly rent in the neighborhood of $100,000. That's a seriously steep price to pay for anyone, and could be little more than a strong-arm tactic to force the current folks behind Yamashiro to the curb.
So what would become of the restaurant? It's anyone's guess, but one intriguing option being bandied about is the introduction of something much more upscale for the property. After all, the restaurant hosts some spectacular views, and is surrounded on nearly all sides by the rich and famous. And what's more: Glover says JE Group told him during lease talks that there was already at least one interested third party who'd be willing to pony up the cash to make something like that happen.
As of now it seems likely that the whole thing will end up in court, with Glover either trying to fight the eviction wholesale or at least working to ensure a smooth transition into a new operator. He tells the Times that if he isn't able to stay on, the least he can do is work to make sure members of his staff can hopefully continue to work there in his stead.
At least until a trial date is set or some other arrangements are made, Yamashiro will continue as usual. But what that could mean, say, a year from now? That's between JE Group, the Glover family, and a possible new operator to be named later.