Dudley Moore, Tony Bill and Tony Heinsbergen are celebrating the first anniversary this month of their trendy Venice restaurant, 72 Market St.
The 90-chair dining spot has been "in the black for months," Dawn Heinsbergen, who is a limited partner (as well as vice president of Tony Heinsbergen's Los Angeles interior-design and restoration company and his ex-wife), said, "and that's unusual for a new restaurant."
Even on a recent Monday night, the place (which is open seven days a week for dinner, five days a week for breakfast and six days a week for lunch) was crowded. And why not? The food is good and so is the entertainment.
Celebrities aren't on the regular bill, but the other night, Kenny Loggins came in and sang, she said, and every so often, Moore comes in and plays the piano. His partners--motion picture producer Bill and the Heinsbergens--are also regulars.
Moore was surprised recently when 50 UCLA sorority girls, each bearing a birthday candle, surrounded his table, "but he stood up, blew out each candle and kissed each girl on the cheek," she remembered. Another night, diners were treated with a song sung by Liza Minnelli, who is also a limited partner.
The restaurant has no dress code, but it has brought some affluence with its valet parking and customers' limos to the seedy neighborhood, which appears to be in transition.
It was standing room only, even on Sunset Boulevard, last Monday afternoon when two bulldozer operators started their engines during a party celebrating demolition of the Beverly Hills mansion recently owned by Saudi Arabian Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi.
When the dust cleared, 650 to 750 invited guests--including an Australian television crew, some Italian investors, and a group of visitors from Paris--made their way to refreshments on the tennis court, where there was some talk about the 15,000-square-foot house Cesar Lopez Jr. is building on part of the 3.58-acre site at 9561 Sunset Blvd.
Lopez wouldn't say who will own the house when it's finished but repeated that he has "a commitment from a celebrity" and then mentioned that the celebrity is a "her."
He will sell the remaining lot through Mary Douvan of Beverly Realty Enterprises for $4 million, he said, "or we would be happy to design a custom home there for somebody, whether they are a celebrity or not."
Hollywood Heritage held a garden party (how appropriate!) Tuesday evening to celebrate completed restoration of the formal gardens at the Wattles Mansion, a Hollywood gathering place for film stars in the 1930s and 1940s.
The 7,000-square-foot home at 1824 N. Curson Ave., a block north of Hollywood Boulevard, was built in 1909 by businessman Gurson Wattles, and was purchased with the rest of the 49-acre estate by the city in 1968 for just under $2 million. However, the house did not become city property until Wattles' widow died in 1977.
Hollywood Heritage occupies it now and is restoring it. "We're responsible for raising the money to restore it, and that's what we're doing now," Marian Gibbons of the nonprofit group said. Looking for donations? "Oh, constantly, and that's how this (restoration of the gardens) happened."
F. Scott Wilson--landscape architect, UCLA instructor and member of the Hollywood Heritage board of directors--enlisted his students to draw and install the plants and irrigation system, and John Sparks at Arco announced that his company would give Hollywood Heritage a grant to purchase the plants. "John said, 'We're looking at $50,000 to $60,000 worth of work here, but it only cost Hollywood Heritage about $2,500," Gibbons said. "The number of man hours spent was unbelievable, but it was free."
Rohit Joshi & Associates, a Beverly Hills-based real estate development firm, has opened a New York office at 919 3rd Ave. to manage Joshi's growing list of projects planned for the New York metropolitan area. Among them: a luxury condo apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side and a residential community being developed on 63 acres in Fishkill, N. Y.