Redefining Fine Dining in Los Angeles

Redefining Fine Dining in Los Angeles

Few Georgians have managed to achieve significant success in the United States, especially in the competitive HORECA sector. However, Tamaz Gomiashvili is an inspiring exception. His restaurant, Le Grand, has not only flourished in the Los Angeles dining scene but also plays a pivotal role in popularizing Georgian culture and cuisine.

Tamaz Gomiashvili’s journey to Los Angeles began after accumulating many years of experience in the restaurant business and undertaking several successful projects across Europe. Drawn to the vast potential of the U.S. market, he chose Los Angeles for its unique opportunities and vibrant culinary scene.

He particularly selected Los Angeles because of the existing potential to bring something fresh and exciting to the market, something that locals hadn’t had a chance to experience yet.

“After achieving success in Europe, I was open to new challenges. The U.S. is a powerful market for restaurateurs, and I was extremely passionate about exploring it. California is a beautiful sunny state with very rich agriculture that gives you access to experiment with fresh local ingredients,” Tamaz explains.

Starting a new business in a new country can be challenging, but Tamaz notes that in order to avoid crucial mistakes, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all legal aspects, explore neighborhoods, and understand people’s food preferences.

Le Grand quickly gained loyal customers and garnered solid recognition from renowned organizations specializing in food and wine. It was honored with the Best of Award of Excellence in 2022 and 2023 by Wine Spectator, Star Wine List 2022, and a recommendation from Restaurant Guru in 2022.

As the pandemic has started to shift the restaurateurs’ market, Tamaz identified the need to adjust to changing market needs. While numerous well-known restaurants in downtown LA were closing their doors, he saw this as an opportunity to further develop his own restaurant.

“This is when I started envisioning Le Grand as a place where everyone could authentically be themselves,” he says. “Picture dining with your significant other or a friend without worrying about the bill. You can explore the menu to the fullest for two hours without stressing about affordability—it’s all at a fixed price.”

This concept, offering an affordable unlimited tasting experience within a luxurious fine dining setting, rapidly became popular.

Le Grand’s new marketing strategy made it one of the most followed restaurants on social media, with their videos gaining over 30 million views. “Customers resonate very well with the concept as well as with the quality of food and service that Le Grand offers. We quickly became a local go-to restaurant,” Tamaz adds.

Creating a comfortable atmosphere is crucial for Le Grand. When customers step in, the first thing they notice is the top-notch design with a beautiful, authentic bar, complemented by music that enhances the modern ambiance. The restaurant seamlessly blends aesthetics with excellent service and quality food.

Le Grand positions itself as an American restaurant with an eclectic menu that draws inspiration from various parts of the world. With their unlimited menu, customers can choose any item and reorder as many times as they desire for two hours.

Although Georgian cuisine isn’t as popular on the West Coast as it is on the East Coast, Le Grand offers Adjarian khachapuri, which has become an absolute bestseller. Additionally, the restaurant’s owner is eager to introduce more Georgian dishes in the future to further acquaint customers with the vibrant flavors of Georgian cuisine. Among their offerings is Georgian wine, including Jos! Wine—a raw natural wine produced by Tamaz’s family.

The restaurant has hosted numerous celebrities and is a popular filming location for Hollywood movies, series, and commercials. Notable guests include the former Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, UFC fighters Marvin Vettori and Giga Chikadze, former NBA star Zaza Pachulia, and many others. Stars such as Steve Carell, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Chance the Rapper have also filmed at Le Grand.

Reflecting on current trends in the U.S. hospitality sector, Tamaz believes that Le Grand has hit the mark with its concept. “People are seeking more affordable, everyday dining spots with excellent bar and cocktail selections, pleasant ambiance, and attentive service,” he observes. The hospitality trends in the U.S. differ significantly from those in Georgia, where local cuisine is more dominant.

For those starting in the business now, Tamaz advises spending time researching the market and finding a concept that stands out among competitors, ensuring the good quality of food and service with competitive pricing, and staying focused and passionate about their vision.

Looking ahead, Tamaz is expanding Le Grand with a second big location in Pasadena, California, and plans for additional sites in Southern California or Las Vegas by the end of the year. They are also collaborating with the largest franchise company in the U.S. to expand their concept beyond California.

Following the successful launch of their unlimited menu, they have been flooded with requests from individuals across the country expressing interest in having Le Grand in their respective cities. “Our current focus is directed towards meeting this growing demand,” he says. While considering opening a Georgian restaurant in LA, Tamaz’s immediate focus remains on expanding their current unlimited dining concept. He continues to introduce Georgian cuisine and wine to a local audience through multiple events. S