Finding the ‘white space’ in LA’s saturated restaurant scene
Industry insider Bryan Terzi is raising the bar for Hollywood’s culinary scene with pizzazz on – and off – the plate. Here’s how
Wednesday 20 July 2022 By Krista Simmons
Bryan Terzi is no stranger to creating a scene. A founding member of Holloway House and West Hollywood local, the SoCal native has carved out a niche for himself in the hospitality industry as a brand builder who taps into local cultures and spaces that may have otherwise gone overlooked. Now the vice president of marketing strategy at Sage Hospitality Group, Terzi has overseen ground-breaking programmes that seamlessly integrate food, drink and entertainment into hotel brands both on home turf and internationally.
‘Every time I approach a project, I always try to think about what the white space in the market is – what isn't out there that we could cater to – and find the niche there,’ he says. It’s an approach that works: Terzi saw some of his first successes during his time at W Hotel Hollywood, where he spearheaded a program partnering with music agency labels to activate the hotel’s nightlife spaces, bringing bubbling talent — and their nascent audiences — long before this became industry practice. On later projects with groups like SBE and NoMad, Terzi learned that it’s just as much about generating buzz as it is about mindfully tailoring those concepts for expansion internationally.
‘It’s so important to get the locals interested,’ he says. ‘These days, developers are really seen as people who just come in and take over. I’m a big proponent of making sure we include and hire from the local community, and create spaces that are different and exciting not just for tourists, but for locals too.’
All that experience led Terzi to a recent project in Hollywood with Thompson and Tommie, which tapped into the local desire for upscale dining and entertainment options for a more elevated, less touristy crowd. ‘Looking at Hollywood, things were getting a bit seedy and catering to a much younger market,’ he says.
Terzi and his team built out an entire block of nightlife and restaurant outlets that spoke directly to diners in their thirties and forties, including chef-driven restaurants, such as Mes Amis, by Lincoln Carson, Mother Wolf, helmed by Evan Funke, and Wes Avila's Ka’teen. While these restaurants carry some serious culinary clout, they still reflect the flair Hollywood has historically been known for.
‘For Mother Wolf, we wanted to mimic Balthazar or Pastis in New York, where you walked in and experienced this very European, buzzy feeling,’ Terzi says. ‘Then we layered Evan's food and his clout within the industry on top of the incredible design, and it was a home run.’
For his next projects, Terzi is really honing in on customer relationship management (CRM), which he believes will be increasingly valuable in the post-pandemic era of keyless entry and mechanisation. As he notes: ‘A lot of times, hotels and developers are way too focused on occupancy and ADR [average daily rate], and they're missing that special sauce.’
Terzi and his team at Sage Hospitality will be bringing their version of said special sauce to some upcoming LA projects; Hotel Per La, now taking reservations with a breathtaking rooftop lounge called Bar Clara boasting some of the best views of the city alongside the Pierside Hotel, positioned across from another iconic landmark, the Santa Monica Pier. Their vision is to rebrand and revamp the space by bringing in a more boho chic vibe – and we can’t wait to get a taste of it.