Judging by the Bentleys you often see valeted at Lawry's The Prime Rib on LaCienega, it seems that this is a place mere mortals might only visit for a special occasion. But on June 11, meat lovers of all stripes will be able to tuck into their famous prime rib dinner for a price that's more parking meter than high-roller.
In celebration of their 75th anniversary, dinner guests can go back in time to when Lawry's was the first restaurant on what was then a quiet, flowery street and pay the 1938 price of just $1.25 for a “Lawry cut” steak served table-side from a huge, heavy cart and accompanied with horseradish, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and their Spinning Bowl salad with their own sherry wine sauce.
A stalwart of what's now known as Restaurant Row, they'll open earlier than usual from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and the first 1000 people through the doors will be the lucky ones eating for chump change.
Things have changed little since the early days when Lawrence Frank and his brother-in-law Walter Van Kamp (of the bakery kingdom and the even older Tam O'Shanter on Los Feliz Blvd.) were inspired by tales of a London restaurant that served meat from a trolley and decided to open up something similar for steak on the outskirts of Beverly Hills.
Servers still wear the same “Brown Gown” uniform today, and despite a move across the street to where The Stinking Rose now is in the 1940s — and then back again in 1993 — Lawry's has continued to pack them in for dinner.
They're not taking reservations for this event though, so you'll have to get there early — the wait time for a table is going to be at least a couple of hours — and some sunscreen and a bottle or two of water might be essential; the midday sun can really hit that side of the street. A (gasp) new menu item is due to be revealed
on the day later on in the year, and more fun and games are promised as the celebration gets closer.
If you're lucky enough to get a table on the special day, they suggest that you donate the difference (cuts run from $37-58 normally) to AbilityFirst, a nonprofit for people with disabilities who are receiving the day's proceeds.
Remember that tipping your server isn't back to pre-war days, nor is the valet — something which Lawry's claim to have introduced to L.A. — and if you don't like waiting in line, there's a $75 dinner that includes those goodies and either an 8-ounce cut or salmon and vegetables all June.
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