Show 113, March 7, 2015: Susan Disney Lord, Proprietress, Bel Air Bar + Grill

Susan Disney LordWhat motivates someone who has the good fortune of being financially independent to buy a distressed restaurant property (with clear potential) with the goal of (hopefully) turning the dry weed into a beautiful rose? It takes significant money, too, with an unpredictable outcome. By the way the new proprietress here had absolutely no previous restaurant experience.

We’ll meet the determined Susan Disney Lord who accomplished all of that and more with the thriving Bel Air Bar + Grill located just down the hill from the Getty Center in Brentwood.

The restaurant is located in a building built in 1947. Originally the Bel Air Farmhouse, it was also known as A Fine Affair for many years. In 1997 new owners renovated the building yet again and opened the Bel Air Bar & Grill. They smartly added the Express Coffee take-out in the back, and created a new, convenient neighborhood favorite.

By the time Susan Lord bought the existing restaurant in 2007 the building was in pretty bad shape. She ran the restaurant while she created the plans and obtained the needed permits to extensively remodel the building. The Bel Air Bar + Grill temporarily closed its doors in 2011 and reopened 18 months later in November 2012. Now there is a new, state-of-the-art kitchen, updated interior design, 35 new parking spaces, and the elegant and beautiful Sunset Room for private events.

The Express was rebranded as The Shack in the Back. It’s a convenient quick stop in the morning or afternoon for a cup of coffee, burritos with flair, salads and sandwiches. At night it’s the spot for a satisfying take-out dinner.

The design for the striking art glass entry was Susan’s concept, artfully executed by artist Amanda Weil. The images are photographs of bougainvillea blossoms picked just up nearby Bellagio Road.

Show 113, March 7, 2015: Susan Disney Lord, Proprietress, Bel Air Bar + Grill Continues…

Susan Disney LordSusan Lord, the proprietress of the Bel Air Bar + Grill since 2007 continues. Under her patient stewardship the restaurant was remodeled and reopened in November of 2012.

The popular Express Coffee location in the back of the property was enhanced and rebranded as The Shack in the Back.

Susan’s GM is restaurant veteran, Douglas Wickard, who is also a successful author. He was previously with the elegant Art Deco Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.

One of the design highlights of the interior is the decorative use of high quality original art on the walls which is constantly changing. It’s a program Susan originated with California Institute of the Arts. It’s a great association. Susan’s family was responsible for founding this respected and admired institution.

“Susan’s goal is to continue to run the Bel Air Bar + Grill and The Shack in the Back as a gathering spot, beloved by locals, a friendly place to have a business lunch or social dinner, or grab as sandwich and coffee. Additionally she hopes to make the Sunset Room the go-to spot for high-end events in West Los Angeles.”