Wednesday, July 18

The Ivy in LA

The Ivy in LA

I'm a big time foodie ... not the chef kind, the restaurant kind.  I love going to restaurants.  To me, restaurants are the epitome of the brand experience.  In fact, I chronicled the journey of one of my favorite restaurant brand experiences in my first book, and to this day it is my most asked question!  "Where is that Italian restaurant?"

I have my favorite restaurants in all my favorite places.  This little Italian place in NY.  Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck, NY.  Boulevard in San Francisco.  Barton G in Miami Beach.  The Apartment in Paris.  And of course ... The Ivy in LA.

Every time I go to LA I have to go to The Ivy ... just ask my colleagues in our office there.  It's fabulous.  Always consistent, always amazing, and always an incredible brand experience.

But what makes The Ivy so The Ivy is that it's The Ivy.  Irreplaceable, like any amazing brand.  The food, the flowers, the dishes (I bought a set for my home), the wait staff ... all amazing and all very Robertson LA.

The funny thing is, though, that I decided to go to The Ivy in Santa Monica, just a few short miles away at the beach.  I figured that if The Ivy LA is awesome, then The Ivy Santa Monica must be too.  Not so much.

The Ivy Santa Monica
I have to say, that I really didn't like it.  Same food, same dishes, same wait staff ... but just not The Ivy.  No white picket fence, no cars driving up, no outdoor space with umbrellas.  I can't really put my finger on it, but it just wasn't on brand for me.  Oh, but I'll go back ... to The Ivy in LA.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America (including LA)
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU


  1. Funny, we did so much commercial production in Santa Monica that for years my only Ivy experience was the SM location, so my experience has been the opposite. Versus the Robertson location, which I only just visited last month, Santa Monica feels quintessentially LA: spacious patio, ocean breezes, palm trees. I prefer SM.

  2. We are all a product of our experiences! Jim.

  3. “But what makes The Ivy so The Ivy is that it’s The Ivy.” I think this line sums up exactly what sets the greatest restaurants apart from the rest. It’s not just the food or the interior design or the architecture of the restaurant that makes it someone’s favorite. It’s the total experience you get when you’re in it. The less able you are to compare a restaurant with other restaurants, the better it is.