Lawry’s The Prime Rib officially turned 80 years old on June 15…quite an achievement. When my grandfather, Lawrence Frank, and his brother-in-law (and my great uncle), Walter Van de Kamp, began their “side venture” with the comparatively humble Tam O’Shanter in 1922, I bet they didn’t imagine they’d open a fine dining restaurant in Beverly Hills sixteen years later. During their lifetimes, the Prime Rib became incredibly successful while anchoring the first and probably most famous Restaurant Row in the country. Under my father Richard N. Frank’s leadership and continuing through my tenure with the company, we’ve added more Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurants in the U.S. and have established a number of popular licensed Lawry’s operations in Asia.
As my father used to point out, keeping our company alive and thriving is a balancing act between change and tradition. A few examples of changes during the last eight decades come to mind. We’ve moved across La Cienega Blvd. and back to our original site into the beautiful custom built restaurant you know today. Believe it or not, we’ve tweaked our famous “Brown Gown” server uniforms over the years for both practical and aesthetic reasons and we were pleased to add men to our wait staff a few years ago.
Our menu has also evolved to a degree, both out of necessity and to reflect our guests shifting tastes over the years. During World War II, my grandfather refused to sell the black market beef many of his competitors relied on in the face of heavy wartime rationing. Instead, the restaurant served turkey from our silver carts until the war ended, and the public supported his principled stand. A few years later, he took another principled stand, one that was a little less solemn and based more on his personal preference. He flatly refused to offer sour cream as an accompaniment to our baked potato, saying that it just shouldn’t be done. We knew it was something our guests really wanted and eventually “overruled” him. Today, he’d also be surprised, but maybe ultimately pleased, to find seafood entrees on the menu.
It’s fun to look back over our eighty-year history and think about how things have changed, but what becomes even clearer in the process is how deeply held our Lawry’s traditions are. The basic meat and potatoes meal we offer today remains pretty much the same as the day we opened. Our most recognizable symbol, the iconic silver cart that makes our unique service style possible will always be with us. To me, what’s at the heart of our business—the reason for its lasting success and something that will never change—is our desire to make every moment you spend with us special and memorable. All we do is focused on this goal.
Meeting the challenge of balancing change and tradition becomes truly satisfying when it helps ensure that you’ll enjoy the classic Lawry’s The Prime Rib experience each time you dine with us. As long as we do that, every anniversary will be a happy one for us.
From the desk of Richard R. Frank
Lawry's The Prime Rib — Beverly Hills
100 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211