Can you solve the mystery before dessert?
The U.S. government didn’t decorate the failed restaurant that occupied the building that would become the original Lawry’s The Prime Rib in 1938…but it did own all the equipment and furniture in the place. The previous tenant hadn’t paid back the War Loan he used to finance his business. As a result, Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp were able to buy all the refrigerators and stoves they needed at bargain basement prices. This, along with the space’s wide, asphalt floors that could support 600 pound serving carts and a belief that their one-entrée menu idea would be a hit, justified the risk the two restaurateurs were taking.
But there was still the problem of the interior design. Booths had to be reshaped; room accents and lighting had to be reconsidered to complement the unique Art Deco carts. Ultimately, the new restaurant owed part of its immediate success to the atmosphere created by its appealing décor.
Over the following eight decades, Lawry’s The Prime Rib’s growing business and ever-increasing competition have inspired periodic design adaptation and evolution. Our desire to balance change and tradition has always been at the heart of our design decisions.
An early design change at Lawry’s was the 1941 addition of the Circle Room to the box shaped original restaurant on the east side of La Cienega Blvd. It helped accommodate more guests and became an architectural feature that would be incorporated in future Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurants.
In 1947, a larger Lawry’s The Prime Rib was built directly across the street from the first. The main dining room’s modified Art Deco style was similar to the original. The building’s design also incorporated the same wide aisles, booths, high ceiling and Circle Room. The back wall of the new bar featured a mural of a fanciful medieval scene by the famous California artist Millard Sheets.
Eight years later, some stylish changes to the interior added a degree of elegance that fit the fine dining reputation Lawry’s had earned. In the lobby, guests tossed coins benefitting Lawrence Frank’s Crippled Children Society into a small pool below water cascading down a gold mosaic tiled wall.
The Prime Rib’s most significant decorating change to date happened in the 1970s. Following his work in 1965 on our British themed Five Crowns in Corona del Mar, award winning interior designer, Robert Hanley, brought an “English Gentleman’s Club” look to our Beverly Hills restaurant. A new color palette, fabrics, authentic 18th century portraits and tapestries filled the rooms. Hanley’s custom designed high-backed dining chairs completed the look.
When, in 1993, we moved back across the street to the east side of La Cienega into the grand custom-built restaurant we still occupy today, we kept the English theme. Again, booth seating, wide aisles and the Oval Room, inspired by the other Circle Rooms, maintained a connection to our former interiors. Many of the furnishings from the previous restaurant decorated the even larger rooms. Domed ceilings and rich mahogany millwork added luxuriousness.
If you’ve been to Lawry’s in the last couple of months you’ve noticed that something pretty major is happening. After all these years, the time has come to bring some of the glitz and glamour that Beverly Hills is world famous for to Lawry’s. We don’t want to give away too much, but, if you’re planning to visit during the coming holiday season, expect to see some beautiful and exciting, new interior design features.
Lawry's The Prime Rib — Beverly Hills
100 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211