Gladstone's restaurant, the beach-side bastion for locals and tourists, should remain at its present site at Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, according to a county report released Monday.
A selection panel has recommended to the county Beach Commission that the soup and seafood, peanut-shells-on-the-floor restaurant be given a new 20-year lease on state-owned land in Will Rogers State Park.
Last fall, county caretakers solicited bids from three other major chains, all of which sought the multiyear lease to run a restaurant on a location that officials call one of the most desirable in the nation and where Gladstone's has been situated since 1981.
"Obviously, we're delighted," said Alan Redhead, chief executive of California Beach Restaurants, Gladstone's parent company. If approved by the Beach Commission Wednesday, the recommendation will go to the Board of Supervisors for a decision.
"I think the thing that turned the tide in our favor was that we offered $300,000 more in annual rent than the other contenders," Redhead said.
Since 1981, Gladstone's in Pacific Palisades has evolved into the place where Los Angeles eats and meets at the beach, becoming a top-grossing restaurant in California.
In its financial package to county officials, Gladstone's offered a whopping $1.75 million in annual rent for the concessionaire contract, up from the $1.4-million rent paid in 1996, according to the report.
That amount topped offers by chains that included the Levy Restaurants of Chicago, the American Restaurant Group and the Beach House.
On Monday, the losers in the hunt to operate the prime beach property disagreed with the decision.
"This being March Madness month, we contend that we beat Gladstone's in regulation and that officials had to add an overtime in order for them to win," said Matthew Geragos, an attorney representing the Beach House. "This was not a fair fight."
Officials insist that the selection process did not take sides.