If you've attended a movie or play in the Mid-City or Beverly Hills in the last few decades, and gone out for a bite afterward, chances are very good that you ended up at Kate Mantilini.
The bustling open-kitchen restaurant at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Doheny has played a major role in Southern California's California cuisine scene for well over a quarter century (and played a few movie roles, too, including in 1995's "Heat").
At issue? The lease. "We were not able to come to terms with our landlord and this has left us with no choice but to close" says a message on the restaurant's Facebook page. "Stunned" longtimers and fans have been flocking to the spot, a lunchy landmark for people in the entertainment industry and surrounding neighborhoods.
Kate Mantilini is one of the icons of LA '80s dining, an era that saw the rise of Wolfgang Puck and other top toques who made a certain stylish, Golden State-influenced prep and presentation a larger and lasting trend.
Harry and Marilyn Lewis, the duo behind the Hamburger Hamlets, founded the scenester-meets-neighborhood-casual restaurant in 1987. (Mr. Lewis, you may remember, was in "Key Largo" with Humphrey Bogart, and the fact that his restaurants forever boasted a Tinseltown feel felt good and right.)
"The good new is that Kate Mantilini Woodland Hills will remain open where you can continue to enjoy most of your favorites," continues the restaurant posting about the matter.
Still, one can get used to a favorite just being there, day after day, and the regulars who showed up for the over-sized salads, the tortilla soup, and tableside guacamole may still find their cars turning in the direction of Kate's after a film or party's over but their night is not.