In Los Angeles, celebrities walk amongst us. They’re shrouded by hats and oversized sunglasses, often using the back entrance or being chauffeured by nondescript car services to avoid recognition. Despite the high density of celebs in a single city, they’re actually fairly hard to find. If you want to accidentally rub elbows with Hollywood elite, you have to go to Crossroads. Helmed by famed chef Tal Ronnen, this vegan fine-dining establishment has been graced by countless entertainers all craving a taste of impeccable plant-based fare. Vegan or not, Ronnen’s food has enticed everybody who is anybody—from Jane Fonda to Paul McCartney. We had to know: what makes Crossroads the ultimate celebrity attraction? Here’s what we found.
Familiar but excellent vegan food
Famous or not, diners receive five-star service while seated at crisp white tablecloths, but the pretension ends there. The menu at Crossroads is a replica of any other reputable hotspot you’ll find in Los Angeles (minus the animal products). Exquisite appetizers, exceptionally prepared vegetables, and gorgeously plated desserts compliment the housemade pasta and hearty protein mains.
“Introducing diners who are not plant-based to our style of cooking is a really great feeling. Oftentimes people are dragged to the restaurant by a friend and don’t know what to expect, and it’s always the diehard carnivores who become long-time fans of our food and regulars at the restaurant,” Ronnen explained.
The selection is extensive, which may account for the restaurant’s repeat customers—you have to visit multiple times to try it all. Or, in Lizzo’s case, bring a friend. The entertainer was spotted with Shaun T. here, and we’re left wondering … did they order the Impossible Cigars served with almond yogurt or the Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms for their appetizer? Did they split the classic Caesar salad before slicing into a thick-cut Buffalo Mushroom Sicilian-style pizza, or did they opt to share plates of the Spicy Rigatoni Vodka and Lentil Tempeh Piccata? We’ll have to closely monitor their social handles to find out.
Oprah’s former chef
Owner and chef Tal Ronnen has a resumé that demands attention. He developed the dishes for Oprah Winfrey’s 21-Day Cleanse and has catered star-studded events including the wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi and even the US Senate’s first vegan dinner. He also created plant-based menus for every restaurant in the Wynn’s Las Vegas hotels (owner Steve Wynn is vegan himself).
When asked why Crossroads has such a celebrity pull, Ronnen postulated,
“Hopefully the good food! But more importantly, we are committed to people’s privacy, and I think that is definitely a draw. When we opened we had a huge problem with paparazzi every night so we built a garage in the back where our VIPs can enter and not be photographed. We also have a private dining room which guests who want privacy use on a regular basis.”
While you may not see Katy Perry or one of the Kardashians walk up to Crossroads and ask the host to be seated, you can certainly enjoy your meal knowing that you could be breathing the same circulated air.
Ronnen is extremely humbled by his impressive clientele but also honored by anyone who chooses to dine at his establishment. “We are super grateful to everyone who supports the restaurant regardless of whether they are a celebrity. At the end of a long night, it just feels good to have fed so many people,” he said.
Given the number of celebrities who dine and return to Crossroads, Ronnen may want to consider adding another level to his backlot parking garage. Just a few of the high-profile guests who have graced this space include Travis Barker, Kevin and Harley Quinn Smith, Alicia Silverstone, Kourtney Kardashian, Addison Rae, Paul McCartney, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Ellen DeGeneres, Tobey Maguire, Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Miley Cyrus, and more.
The restaurant has also received acclaim from celebrity chefs courtesy of the Food Network. Fellow Los Angeles chef, restaurant owner, and Food Network personality Michael Voltaggio chose Crossroads as his charity restaurant of choice when competing on the network’s Tournament of Champions this past spring. Voltaggio secured a $10,000 donation for Crossroads by winning the first round of the competition.
When it comes down to it, both plebeians and celebrities look for comfort and taste when choosing to dine out, and Crossroads flawlessly delivers on both.
“We strive to make everyone feel welcome no matter who they are. We don’t have a dress code and even though we are a white tablecloth restaurant it’s a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Our food is appealing to everyone whether they are plant-based or not,” Ronnen concluded.
Want to learn more about Crossroads? Snag our special Summer Food Issue featuring an in-depth restaurant review of the Los Angeles hotspot!
Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.
Photo credit: Brunchographers, Crossroads