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Meet Dana Slatkin of Violet Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Slatkin.

Hi Dana, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Cheviot Hills, but I spent my favorite childhood years in Westwood Village, going to the arcade and movies, helping my mom with her pillow booth at the Westwood Art Show, and then trying to get into bars when I was a teen. At UC Berkeley, I thought I wanted to pursue a career in law, but when my parents got divorced, I realized instead I wanted a career that brought people together. I had spent my junior year in Venice, Italy, falling in love with the cafe scene there. So I enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America and began a journey in the world of food and hospitality.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No meaningful road is free from struggle! I wanted to learn the food business from the ground up, and that involved training with some tough teachers and bosses, long hours of physical labor, and many years of feeling insecure about my skills. My parents thought I should be going to graduate school so I had a lot to prove about my career choice. Then I married into the hotel business and had to prove I was more than a housewife. I raised three children while running a wholesale food business, writing a cookbook and then launching a cooking school. It wasn’t until I divorced after 23 years that I finally felt qualified to open my own restaurant.

We’ve been impressed with Violet Los Angeles, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In March of 2020, I opened Violet Bistro, School & Shop in a historic building in Westwood Village. It was a hard-won dream come true. With the help of Lewis | Schoeplein Architects and Wendy Haworth Interior Design, I renovated the building from top to bottom and built a dreamy space that felt like a charming, soulful home. I developed a California-French menu of Bistro classics that featured the best of our local produce and hired a talented team to help me run the multi-faceted business. I knew that the neighborhood was long overdue for a quality gathering spot. And I knew from my experience managing restaurants that having a School would help the thin margins of a restaurant. We had a successful opening and everything was looking promising until eight days later when we were shut down by the first wave of the pandemic.

How do you think about luck?
I feel that luck has been on my side my whole life. I had the privilege of having good health, going to excellent schools, having a supportive family and wonderful friends. Building a restaurant and cooking school from the ground up is not easy, but I was lucky to work with a fantastic team and a builder who eventually became my life partner. Of course, the pandemic has been bad luck for everyone. But we have found many silver linings. It forced me to reimagine how I want to be as an entrepreneur, parent and person. And it really drew my work family closer. We are now even more dedicated to being here for our community and for each other.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Bonjour@violetla.com
  • Website: www.violetla.com
  • Instagram: @thevioletla
  • Facebook: Violet Los Angeles
  • Yelp: Violet Bistro, Violet Cooking School


Image Credits:

Will Hereford (#1) Nicole LaMott

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