Argentine Adolfo Suaya came to the United States 27 years ago with the dream of being a movie actor, but he rewrote the script of his life and “managed to seat Hollywood at his table,” becoming the owner of 17 of the most famous restaurants in Southern California.
He moved from his native Buenos Aires to Los Angeles at the age of 24 to study acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, whose alumni include giants such as Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
“At that time I noticed that there were not many places in Los Angeles at which to eat. At that time it was a little bit of an empty city regarding gastronomy. There were some fast-food restaurants and very expensive restaurants, but there was nothing in the middle, so I got the idea to open an Argentina-Americanized grill,” said Suaya in an interview with Efe.
Thus, the Gaucho Grill was born in 1986, inspired by the tastes of Argentina.
He rented the space for his small restaurant in West Hollywood and a week after he opened it it was filled with customers.
“With the passage of the years, I opened 11 more (restaurants) of that same chain and practically all the artists in Hollywood went to eat at them, especially Julia Roberts, who went once a week,” said the businessman.
“But the public and the businesses were changing and little by little I was closing this chain that I maintained for 23 years. Nowadays, just two Gaucho Grills remain, but they’re not mine, because I gave them to some of my employees,” he added.
Suaya, along with his group of investors and artists, including Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama and Bruce Willis, were involved in some of the area’s really important restaurants such as Dolce and Bella Cucina.
After five years of working on the design, construction and outfitting, and after an investment of $2.5 million, Suaya in September 2011 opened the Osaka restaurant, which promised to bring to Los Angeles the best of the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cooking in a sophisticated 7,500-square-foot location.
“I decided to close it two weeks ago. It’s been my biggest blow as an investor, but the road is made up of successes and failures. Everything forms part of life and you have to take it with responsibility,” said the owner of BoHo, a well-patronized gastropub famous for its beers from all over the world and located in Hollywood.
With his enjoyment of life and food, Suaya will soon begin the taping of the second season of his “Latin American Foodie” program, which is broadcast in countries like Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay by Sun Channel.
“I show how the world is seen through food. Each dish has its significance. We tour through various countries to speak about the flavors, colors, textures, preparation and we interact with each one of the creators of dishes and drinks that awaken in us even more emotion about being a foodie,” he said.