Bill Chait is a principal and managing partner of restaurants across Los Angeles, including Bestia and the upcoming Vibiana and Redbird downtown, and Sotto and Picca on the Westside. Before participating in a discussion of what downtown’s rise means for the rest of L.A., he talked Israeli food and fast food, and golf balls and elephants, in the Zócalo green room.
What’s your favorite cliché?
[Laughs.] Let’s see. My latest one is probably, “You don’t want to be the person who misses the opportunity to miss the opportunity.”
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten in the past week?
Actually it’s a little unfair because I just got back from Israel, so I ate at some fantastic, what I’d call “street food,” restaurants in Israel that were really great.
If you didn’t live in L.A., where would you be?
Probably the Bay Area.
What comforts you?
I like being in areas where I know people and they know me.
What was your first entrepreneurial endeavor?
I actually sold golf balls, believe it or not. [New or used?] Used, those we found. We were sort of junkies at a golf course all the time.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
There’s a few lately. The latest one is sort of inconsiderate drivers, but that’s probably cliché itself.
When did you last eat fast food?
Conventional fast food, like McDonald’s and places like that, it’s probably been 20 years.
Who or what would your mascot be?
I’m fond of the Jumbos because my daughter went to Tufts. I’m fond of elephants.
How did you get into trouble as a kid?
I had a variety of methods, but certainly finding golf balls on golf courses while people were playing was one of them.
What do you wake up to?
Other than hot coffee?