Restaurants & Clubs
Bevans Branham’s high trajectory career track in the advertising agency business took an abrupt change after a long, late evening with his best friend from college, in which it was suggested that perhaps the three of them open a restaurant. Why? Because Bevans and Lorie cook so great and his friend thought they could get the financing at his father’s bank. Bevans, then on the threshold of opening his own ad agency with a small stable of prestigious clients, made the highly irrational decision to take an abrupt turn into the restaurant and bar business. They subsequently leased some outstanding space, hired architects and made a presentation to his partner’s father’s bank. They were turned down – too large a loan to a family member. They subsequently went to eleven different banks, finally securing an SBA loan, and opened My Friends Restaurant & Bar in Evergreen, Colorado in 1976, one of the country’s first modern American restaurants, rated the best in Colorado.
Lorie and Bevans Branham relished being involved in the exciting and delicious world of restaurants and clubs with the opening of My Friends, which quickly became regionally and nationally acclaimed. 1976 was also the first year the American Chardonnays beat the French, legitimizing the creation of a Modern American Cuisine in this bicentennial year. Their immediate success and recognition was predicated on their background in marketing, advertising and public relations, team building and classical techniques of French and American cooking. The team was amazing, incorporating the launch of executive chef, Michael McCarty’s much storied career.
Bevans Branham and Lorie Branham proceeded to collaborate in originating, developing and producing several highly innovative nationally recognized restaurants that changed industry standards, including, Michael’s in Santa Monica, 1979, the first “California Cuisine” restaurant in America, and rated top ten Playboy Magazine. Next, Gordon’s in Aspen, 1983, the first nationally recognized restaurant in Aspen and its much celebrated “High Altitude Cuisine”. During this time, Bevans and Lorie were honored to participate in the early years of the American Institute of Wine and Food, with many culinary stars and vintners including Julia Child and Robert Mondavi.
Bevans and Lorie went on, as founders and producers of the culture changing, internationally acclaimed The Rattlesnake Club in Denver, 1985, remarkably rated among the top ten in world by “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. This restaurant served to set the standard of excellence in this golden age of restaurant development, and for many years to come.
Bevans and Lorie later had the privilege to collaborate with Philippe Starck, one of the leading industrial designers and futurists of the 20th century, in developing Restaurant BON in Paris, 2000, its much acclaimed first organic food restaurant – initially fielding 2500 calls for reservations per day, stabilizing at 1200.
History now validates that this amazing collection of restaurants, in which Bevans and Lorie served as executive producers in various capacities as creators, developers and operators, unconsciously establishing new food trends, nomenclature and cultural shifts that have been long lasting, sustainable and much loved – changed forever the way America and the world eats, dines and enjoys food. Bevans and Lorie’s lifetime study of food, design and people has indeed facilitated an extraordinary celebration of the “moveable feast” of life, for them and many others around the globe.