SBE positions itself for growth as a multiconcept operator with new hotel and restaurant concepts

SBE positions itself for growth as a multiconcept operator with new hotel and restaurant concepts

LOS ANGELES Katsuya [3] here is poised for what it expects will be rapid expansion following the 2008 debut of the first of three glamorously reworked hotels and two new restaurant concepts. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Founded in 2002 by film producer and nightclub impresario Sam Nazarian, SBE Entertainment Group is positioning itself as a muti-concept operator able to synergize its high-end dining, nightlife, luxury hotel and film production brands. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

For SBE’s dining and nightlife group alone, which currently includes three restaurants, two nightclubs and a lounge, sales are projected to reach $60 million this year, company officials said. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

In Los Angeles, SBE is perhaps best known for the Philippe [4] Starck-designed Katsuya, with locations in the city’s Brentwood and Hollywood neighborhoods. Two more Katsuyas are expected to open next year in neighboring Glendale and downtown Los Angeles. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

In January, the company intends to launch a new restaurant in West Hollywood to be called Foxtail, which will aim to be a “Brown Derby for our generation,” said Kevin [5] Stuessi, president of SBE’s Restaurant and Nightlife Group, referring to the classic Hollywood supper club made famous by the Hollywood elite of the 1940s and 1950s. The chef will be Antonia Lofaso, who worked previously at Spago [6] Beverly Hills, Stuessi said. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

SBE also is developing three hotels, also designed by Starck, each of which would feature high-end restaurants. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

In August, for example, the group completed the acquisition of the Sahara Hotel & Casino on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip—a deal made in partnership with Stockbridge Real Estate Funds. Once known as the hangout of choice for Frank Sinatra, the 55-year-old Sahara is to be recreated by 2010, but SBE officials said they haven’t decided whether to remodel or rebuild. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Either way, the end result would have a “significant restaurant and nightlife component” that would likely leverage some of the company’s existing restaurant and nightlife brands, said Stuessi, who formerly was vice president of food and beverage at the nearby Wynn Las Vegas, a resort property known for its high-end foodservice emphasis. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Earlier this year, SBE purchased what was Le Meridien Beverly Hills, which has been renamed the SLS at Beverly Hills and is currently being remodeled. Starwood Hotels & Resorts will manage the hotel as part of its Luxury Collection group. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

SBE recruited Washington, D.C., chef José Andrés, whose ThinkFoodGroup operates the restaurants Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya and Café Atlántico. Originally from Spain, Andrés aims to create a “bazaar-style” venue at SLS that would feature Spanish tapas. He’d also handle the new hotel’s in-room foodservice and all banquets and catering. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Andrés is excited to be working with SBE founder Nazarian. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

“He wants me to do something different with this hotel and he’s giving me the tools to achieve it,” Andrés said, though he declined to elaborate. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

SBE’s plans to move the SLS hotel brand into multiple markets was another draw, as was the opportunity to work on the prototype in Beverly Hills, he said. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

In 2009, SBE plans to unveil the redone South [7] Beach Ritz Plaza Hotel, which the company bought in 2005 in a joint venture with Makar Properties LLC. The 131-room property will feature a yet-to-be-determined restaurant. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Meanwhile, SBE intends to grow another restaurant concept in Los Angeles called The Abbey, a 15-year-old, three-daypart venue founded by David Cooley that SBE bought in May 2006. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Though it has tweaked the concept to create more of a “supper club” with late-night dining and dancing, SBE—with Cooley as a partner—is looking for a potential second location for The Abbey in Chicago or San Diego. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

SBE’s nightclubs in Los Angeles include Hyde, Area and the recently opened S Bar, next to Katsuya Hollywood. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Another SBE nightclub, previously operating under the names Slab, Shelter, and Privilege, closed in September and is being reworked into yet another supper club concept. At one point, SBE announced plans to bring the New York restaurant Megu to that location, but the deal fell through. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

SBE aims to corner the market on concepts that blend dining with a lively party scene. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

“The supper club is something others don’t do well,” said Arich Berghammer, chief operating officer of SBE’s Restaurant and Nightlife Group, who previously spent about 10 years expanding the House of Blues [8] chain. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Most attempts at the supper club hybrid in Los Angeles end up being simply nightclubs, he said. SBE aims for concepts that emphasize food and quality of service, with a heavier bar component from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., he said. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

At Katsuya, for example, Starck’s bold-but-whimsical design touches are backdrops for a menu designed by sushi chef Katsuya Uechi, who specializes in Japanese-fusion dishes. Uechi, who is a partner with SBE in Katsuya, also operates two sushi restaurants in the Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Though the city is awash in sushi restaurants, Berghammer believes that discerning diners will welcome the expansion of Katsuya. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

“L.A. has the bandwidth for it,” he said. “There’s a real need.” —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant

Over the past five years, however, SBE has made some missteps. In 2005, it opened Yu Restaurant and Lounge in Santa Monica, then sold the pan-Asian concept to Hillstone Restaurant Group, the Beverly Hills-based operator of the Houston’s [9] casual-dining chain. Hillstone officials said plans for the shuttered location were yet to be determined. —The operator of the chic Asian restaurant