Episode 172 – Bob Spivak

The Grill on the Alley co-founder on what makes his restaurant so iconic
By LA Stories Staff Los Angeles
Feb. 05, 2024 PUBLISHED 5:00 PM PT Feb. 05, 2024

In his late thirties, Bob Spivak hit a point where he barely got by.

Having just divorced his wife, he moved back in with his parents and worked as a salesman in order to pay child support.

He calls it the lowest point in his life — until a conversation with a parent of one of the children he coached on his son’s little league team.

The parent, Mike Weinstock, was partnering with Richard Shapiro to open a restaurant — and they wanted Spivak to do it with them.

“I wanted to do a real serious American grill, where the answer is yes, what is the question, and the guest is always right,” said Spivak.

On the latest episode of “LA Stories” with host Giselle Fernandez, Spivak shares his journey to opening the iconic Beverly Hills restaurant, The Grill on the Alley.

Growing up, Spivak struggled with dyslexia but was creative and quick on his feet — something that helped him while working for his father’s famous restaurants, such as the Blue Diamond Grill, Smokey Joes BBQ, and The Redwood House.

He said his father taught him everything he knew about the restaurant business, and when Spivak went out on his own to open The Grill on the Alley, he did so in honor of his father.

“He was always so proud of me and now he actually has something tangible to be proud of,” he said, “He died about a year later. But I know that day that I wheeled him in the restaurant, that he knew that I was going to be okay.”

The Grill on the Alley became one of the most sought-after restaurants in Beverly Hills.

It became a favorite of celebrities and Hollywood agents.

Spivak shares stories of celebrities at the restaurant in his new book, “Saved by a Blonde and a Chicken Pot Pie” — the title referencing his second wife, Leslie, the blonde who he calls the love of his life and the most famous dish on The Grill’s menu: their chicken pot pie.

Spivak went on to open multiple restaurants across the country, such as The Daily Grill and Public School.

Today, he is happily retired and looks back fondly at all the ups and downs of his life.

“Success that the world defines can be very fleeting,” he said, “But nobody can take away me, and nobody can take away Leslie from me. And that makes me a very successful person.”

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