Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Dine..

    

8764 Melrose Avenue (at Robertson),
West Hollywood, CA. / (310) 276-1253


Alas, Morton's closed its doors at the end of 2007.

The Morton's space was converted into "Cecconi's", Italian restaurant.

Peter Morton's sister, Pam (who had run the restaurant for the last twenty years) decided "to move on and explore other passions in her life." And the Times suggested that a lease dispute contributed to the decision to close the restaurant.

That also means, of course, that the Vanity Fair Oscars party had to look for a new location for their annual bash.

In 2008, the Vanity Fair Oscar party had planned to move to the new "Craft" restaurant, at 2002 Avenue of the Stars, in Century City. But due to the writer's strike, they decided to just cancel that year's party.

I will leave this page up for a while, for those interested in reading about Morton's, but bear in mind that it was written when Morton's was still open to the public
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Morton's is one of the leading hangouts for Hollywood agents, producers, and other such players. For a change, here's a place where agents rarely do "power lunches"... they do power dinners instead.

The hot night at Morton's is Monday, when the restaurant becomes a major scene.

Morton's is one of the most popular nightspots with celebrities and those in the industry, including Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Michael Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Mel Gibson, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier, Arnold & Maria, Jerry Seinfeld, Christopher Reeve, Jackie Collins and Disney chairman Michael Eisner.

   
   

The restaurant is owned by Peter Morton, the guy who gave us the worldwide chain of Hard Rock Cafes (including one at the nearby Beverly Center). It's a beautiful room, where they serve decent but unexciting American food (i.e. steaks, chops, chicken & fish) in tropical surroundings, at rather high prices (expect to pay about $95 for dinner for two).

But few people come for the food or the decor. They come for the scene, to make deals, and to spot celebrities. That can be difficult at dinner time, when the lighting at Morton's is dim; lunch is brighter and star-gazing is easier.

In August of 2001, Jennifer Lopez had her huge engagement party at Morton's, complete with dinner & dancing.

It's difficult to imagine a more star-studded crowd than you'll find at Morton's on Oscar Night.

In the 1990's, Morton's replaced Spago as the place to be on Academy Awards night.

The Vanity Fair party at Morton's is now considered the hottest post-Oscar private party in town (although there are at least a dozen other such parties at various restaurants around Hollywood). drawing a virtual who's who of stars on Oscar Night.

After the 2007 Academy Awards show at the Kodak Theatre, guests at Morton's (Vanity Fair) party included Oprah, Leo DiCaprio, Madonna, Tom CruiseKatie Holmes, Will Smith, Orlando Bloom, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Hudson, Hugh Jackman, Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Jamie Foxx, Ellen Degeneres, Forest WhitakerTobey Maguire, Sean Penn, Ron Howard, Adam Brody, Jessica Biel, Gwen Stefani, Jon Bon Jovi, Mary J. Blige, Regis Philbin, ...even Al Gore and Walter Cronkite.

In previous year's, the big party at Morton's has attracted the likes of Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, John Travolta, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul McCartney, Nicole Kidman, Steve Martin, Renee Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, Russell Crowe, Sidney Poitier, Meg Ryan, Anthony Hopkins, Mick Jagger, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Robert Duvall, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver, Kevin Spacey, Michael Douglas, Ashley Judd, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Crystal, Kim Basinger, Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Ron Howard, Jennifer Aniston, Bette Midler, Holly Hunter, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raquel Welch, Jeremy Irons, Alec Baldwin, Kate Winslet, Calista Flockhart, Martin Scorsese, Jay Leno, Ben Affleck, Tim Allen, Marissa Tomei, Ethan Hawke, Jerry Seinfeld, Geena Davis, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Beckinsale, Jamie Fox, Uma Thurman, Liam Neeson, Warren Beatty & Annette Bening, Cher, Sharon Stone, Farrah Fawcett, Christina Applegate, Hugh Grant, Bridget Fonda, Kirk Douglas, Janet Jackson, Minnie Driver, Bo Derek, Ashley & Mary-Kate Olsen, Winona Ryder, Rob Lowe, Neve Campbell, Michael Caine, Sean "P Diddy" Combs, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Roddy McDowall, Penny Marshal, Anthony Edwards, Jacqueline Bisset, Tom Arnold, Elizabeth Shue, Chris O'Donnell, Dolly Parton, Mike Myers, Anjelica Huston, Dennis Quaid, Elvis Costello, Darryl Hannah, Heidi Klum, Mira Sorvino, Mickey Rourke, Suzanne Somers, Harvey Keitel, Sigourney Weaver, Cuba Gooding Jr., Joan Collins, Naomi Watts, James Woods, Minnie Driver, Ellen DeGeneres, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Dreyfuss, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Jane Fonda, Phil Collins, Ron Howard, Regis Philbin, Joan Rivers, Angie Dickinson, Billy Bob Thorton, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Uma Thurman, Muhammad Ali, Ewan McGregor, Puff Daddy, Elizabeth Hurley, Lara Flynn Boyle, Pamela Anderson, Ed Harris, Jeff Goldblum, Matt Dillon, Ellen Barkin, Juliette Lewis, Gina Gershon, Ed Burns, Dwight Yoakam, Roseanne, Steven Seagal, Ed McMahon, Rod Stewart, Michael Bolton, Fran Drescher, Jenna Elfman and many more.

The pre-Oscar party starts at 5 p.m., then the restaurant gets its second, main wave of star arrivals after the Oscars show is over (at around 10 or 11 p.m.)

In fact, some years, the restaurant actually projected the names of the arriving stars on the exterior wall of the restaurant, thanks to a light show created by the lighting designer of the Rolling Stone tours, along with hundreds of reporters and videocameras recording the arrivals. It's quite a scene.

And it isn't just the Oscars. In 2002, the Grammy Awards also caused a scene here. On Feb 27, 2002, Sony Music had their post-Grammy party at Mortons, with guests including Celine Dion, Ray Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Destiny's Child, Offspring, Rage Against The Machine and Incubus.

The rest of the year, getting in can be a problem, especially on Monday, unless you're famous - so be sure to make a reservation. (Be warned: they don't care for tourists here.)  The preferred seats for those "in the know " are in the front room, just past the desk, and against the back wall.

Morton's is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 to 11 PM, and for lunch Monday through Friday. (Closed Sundays.) A jacket is required, and naturally it offers valet parking.

Getting there: From Rodeo Drive, turn east on Santa Monica Boulevard and follow it northeast (a little over a mile) to Melrose Avenue. Bear right (east) on Melrose, and go three blocks east to Robertson. The restaurant will be on your right (south) side.


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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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