|Casual dining trend feeds hospitality boutique firms|
STUDIO CITY — Will Karges sits in a dark leather corner booth of his latest acquisition. Called The Six, the restaurant is a branch of one he opened last year in West Los Angeles.
If both restaurants have the feel of a place that's been there for years, it's because they have — only in different incarnations and with decidedly different vibes. There's nothing old about them except an eternal feeling of comfort.
Karges — who's been buying and running restaurants for a quarter century since taking over management of Johnnie's NY Pizzeria from his father — describes The Six as representative of the casual or "slow food" dining movement that took off a decade ago and that's continued to thrive during a time when more white-tablecloth restaurants have folded.Casual, neighborhood-oriented eateries are taking off, hospitality business experts say, because of the opportunities their lower startup costs afford savvy entrepreneurs and investors and because of a lifestyle shift to more casual dining.
Just as a slow economy has been a boon for certain restaurateurs, it's also infused the work of lawyers who represent them. Farhad Novian, co-founder of Novian & Novian LLP, an eightlawyer transactions and litigation boutique that counts a dozen restaurateurs as clients, including Karges, said he's seen a sharp uptick in transactions on the hospitality side of his practice.
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