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Executive Summary

Owners of most restaurants would be pretty pleased to show up on a List of the highest-grossing restaurants in Los Angeles, but the folks at Jerry’s Famous Deli must be positively ecstatic. It shows up six times.

The publicly held restaurant chain is in expansion mode, growing from four outlets to nine between 1994 and 1996. Its Woodland Hills restaurant, opened last year, already shows up at No. 14 on the List, with $6 million in revenues for its first year in operation.

Big as Jerry’s is becoming, none of its individual outlets can touch Gladstone’s 4 Fish in Pacific Palisades. The beachfront institution retains its long-held title as the highest-grossing restaurant in L.A. County.

The Pacesetter

Gladstone’s, reputed to be the highest-grossing restaurant in California, nearly disappeared this spring.

When the restaurant’s 20-year lease on its state-owned land in Will Rogers State Park neared its expiration, county officials considered bids from three other large chains hoping to operate there. But California Beach Restaurants Inc. (which operates RJ’s in Beverly Hills and the Pacific Palisades Gladstone’s, but not the Gladstone’s at Universal CityWalk) beat out its competitors with an offer to pay a whopping $1.75 million in annual rent.

That came as a relief to the big contingent of regular customers at Gladstone’s, which includes many celebrities Mary Tyler Moore once offered $1,000 to save the restaurant’s giant lobster, Spike; Rush Limbaugh responded by offering $2,000 if Gladstone’s would cook the crustacean.

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