Seeing Stars: Restaurants Owned by the Stars..
    
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at South Coast Plaza  
1641 W. Sunflower Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA. / Phone: (714) 434-7827


Planet Hollywood closed this Costa Mesa branch of the Planet Hollywood chain in 1999, due to the financial problems being experienced by the parent company. In December of 2000, they tore down the building. It is history.

The other L.A. Planet Hollywood, in Beverly Hills, closed in 2000, but announced plans to re-open in a new Los Angeles location in the near future. However, there has apparently been no progress towards opening that new venue. You can access the Seeing-Stars page about that Beverly Hills restaurant by clicking here.

Emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, the restaurant chain announced in January 2000 that they would soon be signing up a host of new, younger stars. Soon after, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he was severing his relationship with Planet Hollywood now that his five-year contract has expired. Bruce Willis and Sly Stallone are still on board, and 'N Sync has recently become involved.

I will leave this page up for a while, in case anyone wants to read about what the South Coast Plaza version of Planet Hollywood was like. But be aware of the fact that the restaurant is closed - the article below was written before its demise.




Celebrity-owned restaurants may have reached their zenith with the late-1992 opening of Planet Hollywood, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant located at Orange County's famous South Coast Plaza.

This super-restaurant isn't owned by just one star,
but by a clique of Hollywood superstars:

Arnold Schwarzenegger ("The Terminator"),
Bruce Willis ("Armageddon"),
Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky"),
Demi Moore ("G.I. Jane").
director
John Hughes ("Home Alone"),
and
Whoopi Goldberg ("Sister Act").

And believe it or not, they all showed up here on opening night and entertained the huge crowd - with Bruce blowing harmonica as searchlights raked the evening sky.

Planet Hollywood is basically a Hard Rock Cafe clone, except that where the Hard Rock Cafe pays tribute to the music industry, Planet Hollywood is a virtual shrine dedicated to the movies.  But while the Hard Rock Cafe is content to exhibit mostly guitars, gold records, and posters, Planet Hollywood offers a much wider range of Hollywood props. In fact, Planet Hollywood is probably the best Hollywood "museum" you can visit in Southern California.

Virtually every square inch free space at Planet Hollywood is filled with glass cases containing terrific Tinseltown memorabilia.


Just inside the entrance, for instance, you'll see the Harley-Davidson motorcycle which Arnold rode in "Terminator II," and the big guy's dark sunglasses from the original "Terminator" film. Nearby is the Magnum pistol used by Clint Eastwood as "Dirty Harry," and the baseball uniform worn by Kevin Costner in "Bull Durham." Across from the waiting area are Patrick Swayze's black dancing shoes from "Dirty Dancing," the vest of TNT worn by a doomed Lloyd Bridges in "Blown Away," and the wooden stake and yellow cheerleader outfit used by "Buffy the Vampire Killer."

To the owners' credit, all of these movie props are accompanied by plaques identifying which movie they are from and the star who used them, as well as by freeze-frame color photos from the movies, which show the displayed items as they were actually used in the film.

Farther inside, near the south end of the restaurant, you'll pass a life-size "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" costume (it's 'Raphael'), and a rotating figure of Schwarzenegger as the disfigured "Terminator" (complete with a glowing red eye). Nearby is a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in "Bus Stop," the famous bicycle ridden by Paul Newman and Katharine Ross (to the tune of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head") in "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid"), and a giant statue of the monster from "Aliens."

There are movie posters and celebrity magazine covers everywhere you look. Just around the corner is the vial of magic youth elixir from "Death Becomes Her," the costume worn by Bruce Willis in "Die Harder," and the personal whisky flask carried by Clark Gable. Overhead is a shredded white shirt from "Edward Scissorhands" and a coat worn by Charlton Heston in "Ben-Hur."

The middle section of Planet Hollywood offers such goodies as Warren Beatty's yellow hat and machine gun from "Dick Tracy," Sly Stallone's trunks and red boxing gloves from "Rocky," and the gleaming silver hook worn by Dustin Hoffman in Spielberg's Peter Pan fantasy, "Hook."

Nearby is the knife from "Rambo" and a fringed leather jacket worn by John Wayne.

On the way to the rest rooms, you'll pass the infamous silver ice pick wielded by Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct," plus Mel Gibson's jacket from "Lethal Weapon 3" (complete with dog biscuits in the pocket).

Head upstairs to the lounge, and you'll discover Bo Derek's famous gold swimsuit from the movie "10," a rifle used by Roy Scheider to ward off the menacing "Jaws," the Penguin's abandoned baby carriage from "Batman Returns," and a red dress worn by Judy Garland in the 1954 version of "A Star Is Born."

A large mural covering the north wall features portraits of stars ranging from John Wayne to Whoopi Goldberg, next to a room re-creating the Star Trek Enterprise bridge.

Every few minutes, movie screens drop down from the ceiling, and clips from hit films (past & present) are projected above the heads of the customers.

Planet Hollywood has also taken a page from the Chinese Theatre, and has started immortalizing the handprints of visiting movie stars in cement (along the outside front wall). So far, their collection of prints includes Paul Newman, Mel Gibson, Sean Connery, Jack Nicolson, Clint Eastwood, Meg Ryan, Geena Davis, and Stephanie Powers. (Click here to read the separate page about Planet Hollywood's celebrity wall.)

The noise-level here is pretty high, and the food is mostly casual: e.g. burgers, Caesar salads, and Cajun chicken sandwiches. But the menu is a bit more ambitious here than at the Hard Rock Cafe - it includes a baked Italian sandwich, good blackened shrimp, Creole pizza, a spicy chicken pasta, and desserts such as Snickers pie, Oreo mousse pie, and big banana splits. It's also a bit more expensive: dinner for two will cost you about $45 (although if you play your cards right and stick to hamburgers and a shake, you could shave that number down to around $25.)

And of course, there's also a small souvenir shop where you can also buy t-shirts, jackets, and wristwatches galore, all bearing the Planet Hollywood logo. After all, what is a place like this all about, if not keen merchandising?

Is the concept working? Well, so far. There are now dozens of Planet Hollywoods around the world (including Israel and China), with plans calling for 20 more restaurants to open in the near future. They recently opened a large new Planet Hollywood right in the middle of Beverly Hills, and it features what may be an even more impressive collection of movie memorabilia. And they are still adding celebrity partners. In mid 1998, actor George Clooney ("Batman & Robin") became the most recent star to own a slice of Planet Hollywood.

Getting there: The original Southern California Planet Hollywood is located in South Coast Plaza Village, on the north side of Sunflower. Take the San Diego (405) Freeway south to the Bristol exit in Costa Mesa, go north to Sunflower, and turn left (west). The restaurant will be on your right (north) side. (See directions for South Coast Plaza mall.)


[For more information on this subject, you can access the official Planet Hollywood website at: http://www.planethollywood.com.]





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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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