Friday, June 6, 2008 – No Brown Derby
The first Brown Derby - also known as the Little Hat - was opened in February 1926 across the street from the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. This Brown Derby, and the others that followed, played a big part in Hollywood's Golden Age. And you would expect that:
The original idea for the Brown Derby Restaurant is believed to have been the brainchild of Herb Somborn (then husband of actress Gloria Swanson), Wilson Mizner and Sid Grauman. According to legend, in 1925 these individuals were chatting with Abe Frank, manager of the Ambassador Hotel, when Somborn remarked, "You could open a restaurant in an alley and call it anything, or you could even build it in the shape of a hat, and if the food and service were good, the patrons would come flocking." (Mizner's version was that he said to Somborn: "If you know anything about food, you can sell it out of a hat.")
They're all gone now, every one of them. So is the Ambassador Hotel. Here’s where you'd find the original, were it still here - Brown Derby Plaza, Wilshire Boulevard at Alexandria.