It happened on November 21st without much fanfare in the Jake community, but it didn't go unnoticed by me.
LOS ANGELES — Late last week the buzz around the tables at Orso, a film industry hangout since it opened here 20 years ago, was about, of all things, the imminent demise of Orso.
The trattoria is near a Robertson Boulevard strip that has seen some rowdy shopping by the likes of Lindsay Lohan and that remains home to the paparazzi-plagued Ivy restaurant. But Orso will be gone by Nov. 21, acknowledged Taylor Lumia, an owner and a member of the restaurant clan whose patriarch is Joe Allen of the namesake restaurant in New York. “It’s not without some sadness and remorse, said Mr. Lumia, who spoke by telephone from his home in Maine. “These things are never easy.”
Like Morton’s, Chasen’s and the original Spago on Sunset Boulevard, Orso — loved less for its food than for the gossip on its ficus-shaded patio — is soon to become the latest entry on a list of Hollywood lunch-and-dinner power spots that used to be.
Named for a dog that once befriended Mr. Allen in Venice, Orso was hurt when the Creative Artists Agency and International Creative Management moved into Century City office towers, shifting the center of gravity for their lunch sessions westward to new hot spots like Craft. And it lost a mainstay when the nearby New Line Cinema — once the biggest house account — cut hundreds of employees in a corporate restructuring.
Still, Orso tapped the industry crowd and, occasionally, stars as far afield as Johnny Depp and Mel Brooks. Among the executives, agents, producers and others spotted at the tables lately were Tom Ortenberg, David Dinerstein, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., Pat Kingsley, Chris McGurk, Stuart Ford, David Permut, David Friendly, Toby Emmerich, Bingham Ray, Kevin Iwashina, Bruce Feirstein, David Colden, Michael London and others who will now be lunching elsewhere.
One secret to Orso’s enduring appeal: a policy that allowed both the famous and the less so to light up in the privacy of the high-walled patio, even as other places clamped down on tobacco. “It was a great place to take actors, because you could smoke outside,” said a film executive, who did not want to be identified for fear of earning the wrath of less understanding nonsmokers.
You can read the full article here: NYTimes: It's Nearly a Wrap for for Hollywood Power Lunches at Orso
Includes pics from IHJ.