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This story first appeared in the May 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When I first came out here in the ’70s, I would eat at Hamburger Hamlet. Then when Kate Mantilini opened, that’s where I’d go. It was really convenient for everything and so important to all of us because it was the place you would eat before walking two blocks to the Academy screenings. You only had to park once.
You couldn’t get a better turkey burger anywhere in the world. They also have the best soups: split pea soup, corn chowder, lentil soup. They were cooking all day, so they were perfect. They had a thing called “Those Potatoes”: two thick layers of hash browns with gobs of sour cream in between. Those are a great way to die. Just know you’ll never survive those potatoes, but you’ll die with a smile on your face. If you got a steak after them, you’d surely be dead. They also had their own wacky, wonderful and beautiful desserts, including a homemade lemon ice box cake. It’s a frosty, beautiful, moist lemon cake with some kind of sure-to-stop-your-heart covering on it.
These are things only at Kate’s. It’s heartbreaking. This is really — seriously, I gotta tell you — this is a bad thing. What’s the ultimate meaning of closing a favorite restaurant? To build one of those stupid, bland, characterless buildings and take away the beauty and charm of a truly great and unique restaurant? There’s nothing else like Kate Mantilini. There are going to be a lot of disappointed people. This is me reacting with tremors. Maybe we can start a petition. I’ll be there tonight and every night until it closes. Someone needs to put up a fight. The headline for this should be: “Mantilini Closes: Beware of Jumpers From High Buildings.”
As told to Brandon Kirby, a couple of hours after Brooks learned of the restaurant’s closure.
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