The Brown Derby Restaurant

Do you remember The Brown Derby Restaurant?

The Brown Derby Restaurant: A Storied History of Hollywood Glamour and Culinary Excellence


For decades, the Brown Derby Restaurant stood as an iconic symbol of Hollywood glamour, fine dining, and celebrity culture. With its distinctive shape resembling a derby hat, this legendary establishment became a beloved landmark in the culinary world. In this blog post, we will take a journey through the captivating history of the Brown Derby Restaurant, exploring its origins, cultural impact, and enduring legacy.

  1. The Birth of an Icon: The first Brown Derby Restaurant opened its doors in 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Founded by Robert H. Cobb and Herbert K. Somborn, it quickly became a hotspot for movie stars, studio executives, and entertainment industry insiders. The restaurant’s unique design, with its hat-shaped building and upscale ambiance, captured the attention of the city’s elite.

  2. Culinary Delights: The Brown Derby was renowned for its innovative and delectable cuisine. Celebrity chef Robert Kreis skillfully crafted a menu that blended American and international flavors, offering a range of mouthwatering dishes. From signature Cobb salads to succulent steaks and seafood, the restaurant consistently delighted diners with its culinary excellence.

  3. A Hub of Hollywood: During Hollywood’s golden era, the Brown Derby became synonymous with celebrity sightings and industry power lunches. The restaurant’s walls were adorned with caricatures and photographs of its famous patrons, showcasing the close ties between the world of cinema and the dining experience at the Derby.

  4. Iconic Locations: While the original Hollywood location on Vine Street was the most famous, the Brown Derby expanded to several other locations, including Beverly Hills, Los Feliz, and Wilshire Boulevard. Each branch retained the elegant charm and refined service that became synonymous with the Brown Derby brand.

  5. Pop Culture Phenomenon: The Brown Derby’s cultural impact extended beyond its culinary offerings. The restaurant appeared in numerous films and television shows, further cementing its status as a Hollywood institution. Its distinct shape and iconic signage became instantly recognizable symbols of Tinseltown’s glamour.

  6. Closing of an Era: Despite its enduring popularity, changing times and economic challenges eventually led to the closure of the original Brown Derby on Vine Street in 1985. Over the years, other locations also shuttered their doors, marking the end of an era for this legendary dining establishment.

  7. Legacy and Influence: Although the physical presence of the Brown Derby has faded, its legacy lives on in the hearts and memories of those who experienced its magic. The restaurant’s influence on American dining culture and its role as a meeting place for Hollywood’s elite continue to inspire and captivate.

The Rise & Fall of The Brown Derby Restaurant

The Brown Derby Restaurant was Founded

The first restaurant was opened in February 1926 at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard in a building built in the distinctive shape of a derby hat.was in vogue at the time, and the restaurant was designed to catch the eye of passing motorists. 

The End of The Brown Derby Restaurant

In September 1980 the restaurant abruptly closed.  Preservationists tried to stop the building from being bulldozed but failed.  By November the restaurant had been replaced by a parking lot.

The Brown Derby Restaurant remains an iconic symbol of Hollywood’s golden age, where celebrities, movie moguls, and food enthusiasts converged to savor exceptional cuisine and bask in the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown. Its rich history, culinary delights, and enduring legacy make it a true legend in the annals of American dining. The spirit of the Brown Derby lives on, reminding us of an era where elegance, star power, and culinary excellence converged in perfect harmony.

Click through the gallery above for some of the most popular forgotten retail spots that are now gone, but never forgotten. Did we miss one of your favorites? Share your memories in the comments.

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