Burbank’s Castaway, West Hollywood’s Boa Steakhouse, and Santa Monica’s two-Michelin-star Mélisse are among the top 100 grossing independent restaurants in the country, according to trade publication Restaurant Business. Despite being the second largest metropolitan area in the U.S., the Los Angeles area only has seven restaurants on the publication’s annual list, which is mostly populated by businesses in Chicago, New York City, Las Vegas, and South Florida. Compared to those locales, Los Angeles restaurants simply don’t have the large footprints or big dinner expenditures that the likes of Maple & Ash in Chicago, Lavo in New York City, or Top of the World in Las Vegas can garner.
The highest-ranking LA-area restaurant on the list, Castaway, comes in at number 35 with around $18.3 million in sales. Castaway combines a huge space with indoor and outdoor venues, plus a swanky new cocktail area called the Green Room, which offers unfettered views of the city below. Castaway is also one of the region’s most popular wedding and event spaces, which adds to its estimated revenue. Boa Steakhouse, a bustling meat specialist in West Hollywood that also operates in Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach, comes next at number 40 with $17.7 million in sales. A source familiar with Boa Steakhouse confirmed that Restaurant Business’s estimate was within range of its actual gross revenue.
However, Mélisse chef Josiah Citrin had a different reaction to his fine dining restaurant’s placement at 100 on the list with an estimated $11.05 million in revenue. Restaurant Business estimates its check average to be $425 per person with about 26,000 annual guests, which seems incredibly unlikely given that the dining room consists of only 14 seats. The higher figure might be conflating the much larger dining area of Citrin, which shares a space with the smaller tasting menu-focused Mélisse, though Citrin has a much lower per-person check average. “We finally made a Top 100 list, and it’s not even true. No idea where they got that from. I wish it were the case. We are far from that,” said Citrin in response.
Downtown LA pastry emporium and all-day Italian spot Bottega Louie gets the 58 spot at $15.7 million in revenue, Malibu’s Paradise Cove Beach cafe sits at 71 with $13.9 million, and Gladstone’s in Pacific Palisades comes in at number 90 with $11.7 million. Also of interest, Coalinga’s Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant, located about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the 5 freeway, earned $18.8 million and landed at 33 on the list.