While celebrities get most of the press for investing in and opening restaurants, a number of industry types have just gotten into the game. Two are already open: a new boardgame and karaoke spot that counts Marc Cherry as an investor and an Italian eatery co-owned by Wireimage co-founder Jeff Vespa. Expect a restaurant in the fall partially backed by Michael Ovitz and a bar where you're likely to find producer Chris Miller.
Pici Enoteca Restaurant
Wireimage photo agency owner and photographer to the stars, Vespa is an owner/investor, along with celebrity chef Jason Harley, who’s known for his own line of black steel cookware that creates amazing results. All items are made in-house, and Chef Jason’s pizzas are share-able and quite unique – with the crispiest crust around. The sauces are each cooked down for a total of three days, lending depth of flavor to each, and of course, all the pastas are made with “Pici” - small noodles shaped like croissants. Chef Jason’s dolce menu includes a canoli recipe passed down from his family for generations. All dishes start vegetarian, and sausage, chicken breast, meat balls and more can be added to any. This has already become the hot casual lunch spot for agents and managers in Beverly Hills – not to mention photogs. 212 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills
Vodvil Restaurant and Nightclub
This restaurant and game-playing club on Fairfax has Desperate Housewives' Cherry as one of its chief investors – along with a group of former agents who wanted to be restauranteurs. In addition to lively karaoke and celebrity trivial pursuit, young comedians host group games. The food tends toward the retro – think 1970’s cocktail cuisine – and the cocktails are both old-school and modern, using vodka and fresh fruit. On any given night, you can find agents, young actors, producers, sharpening their wits and pretending they don’t like competing after hours. Talk about Hollywood fun and games! 351 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
There’s no date yet on when Top Chef season six winner Michael Voltaggio will open his long-awaited Ink restaurant, but Michael Ovitz’s presence will be felt when it does. The restaurant is located in Ovitz’s defunct Kumo sushi spot at 8360 Melrose Avenue. We hear that the former CAA and Disney power broker is not only the building’s landlord, but he’s also an investor in Ink. Plus, select pieces from his art collection are likely to be hung in the six-to-eight seat, prix-fixe-only private dining room. For those who can’t wait to try Voltaggio’s cuisine at his first ever restaurant, the tattooed chef has just opened Ink.Sac, a tiny sandwich shop a couple doors down. The offerings are cheap — nothing costs more than $6 — but the tastes aren’t pedestrian. The fare includes the C.L.T. sandwich (chicken liver mousse, curried chicken skin, lettuce and tomato) and a beef tongue Reuben. 8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Flower Films co-president Miller, right hand to Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen, is getting into the bar biz. He and restaurateur Alfredo Diaz (who owns Kokomo Café on Beverly Boulevard and K2 in Silver Lake) are set to revive the old Revolver video bar this fall in its original space in West Hollywood. It’s due to open October 15. “I think of it as another project, the gestation was as long as a film,” Miller recently told THR. “But I grew up around hospitality, my mom managed hotels. I worked in restaurants all through college. The space was most recently East West Lounge. Revolver, which opened in 1982, actually had a revolving door but there’s no word yet on whether a new one will be reinstalled. “Everyone was nostalgic for Revolver. It was the first bar I ever went to — with fake I.D.! We don’t want it to be anything fancy, just a cool neighborhood bar we can go to after work.” 8851 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood