About Town: Lisa Bonbright
It was love at first site for Café Gratitude CEO Lisa Bonbright when she discovered the lauded vegan restaurant during a visit to the Bay Area, where the restaurant originated. She collaborated with the founders to bring the beloved eatery to L.A., opening the first Southern California outpost in Larchmont Village in 2011, and the spot—known for its organic plant-based fare and affirmation-heavy menu—has been a local favorite ever since. Bonbright’s eclectic career hasn’t always been so food-focused. She worked for acclaimed interior designer Ron Wilson for over a decade before starting her own real estate investment and development firm. Now Bonbright presides over a vegan empire that includes multiple Café Gratitude locations (Larchmont, Downtown L.A., Venice Beach), as well as West Hollywood Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre, which has also became an L.A. staple after its 2014 debut. This month, Bonbright, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Pacific Palisades, celebrates the opening of Café Gratitude’s first San Diego outpost in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood and has Gratitude, an upscale counterpart, slated to debut in Newport Beach later this year. When she traveling between restaurants or inside her West Hollywood office, you’ll likely find Bonbright at one of her favorite L.A. haunts.
By Jessica Estrada
FRANKLIN CANYON PARK This is my favorite place to go hiking with my family and my dog Buster, particularly early in the morning. There are two great hikes here. The south lot, which is really steep and rigorous, and the north trailhead, which is more gradual and better when you are hiking more socially and want to have an in-depth talk.
LAKE SHRINE When I need to recalibrate, I love retreating to Paramahansa Yogananda’s Shrine of the Lake in Pacific Palisades. The chapel overlooking the lake is the perfect place to reflect, meditate, and escape from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
CENTRAL GARDEN AT THE GETTY CENTER A visit to the Central Garden at the Getty Center is the perfect way to spend a day in Los Angeles, especially with out-of-town guests. You can stroll through the garden, have a leisurely lunch at the restaurant, and visit the gift shop, all while enjoying a spectacular view of the Santa Monica Mountains.
HEDLEY’S One of the best kept restaurant secrets in Los Angeles is Hedley’s on Robertson in West Hollywood. They serve simple, clean, organic food that is absolutely delicious. My husband and I eat there four or five times a week.
SIELIAN’S VINTAGE APPAREL When it comes to shopping, I love visiting boutiques that offer one-of-a-kind pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. Sielian’s Vintage Apparel on Melrose in West Hollywood does a wonderful job recirculating period pieces in great condition.
THE RANCH AT LIVE OAK For an all-around health tune-up that allows me to recharge both mentally and physically, I love the seven-day experience at The Ranch in the Malibu Mountains. There are incredible hikes, daily yoga, massages, and fantastic vegan food. You definitely leave feeling fantastic from the inside out.
BEVERLY HOT SPRINGS The spa is my go-to for a little pampering. I love the full body scrub and milk honey body mask.
CAFÉ GRATITUDE Even though I live in Beverly Hills, I love wandering around in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s been incredible to see how the community has come into its own the past few years in a way that’s so authentic and quintessentially Los Angeles. There are new shops and restaurants, and we are so excited to be part of that revolution with a restaurant inside the Michael Maltzan-designed One Santa Fe project.
GRACIAS MADRE I would be negligent if I didn’t admit that my favorite thing in Los Angeles right now is a late afternoon at the bar at Gracias Madre. There’s a super chill crowd and the light is amazing,
Pictured: Lisa Bonbright, CEO of Southern California restaurants Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre
Photo courtesy of Lisa Bonbright