Seeing Stars: Restaurants Owned by the Stars..
    
    

(at the Century City Shopping Center)
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard,
Century City (Los Angeles), CA. / (310) 788-DIVE

Sad news: In January of 1999, Dive! closed abruptly. The Century City Dive! has permanently sunk.

The "yellow submarine" exterior of the restaurant remained intact for over a year, but in June 2000, the old sub facade was taken down, and the building is now being retrofitted to accomodate a more traditional restaurant.

L.A. has lost one of its most whimsical examples of eccentric architecture.

I will leave this page up for a while, for people who would like to read about what the restaurant was like...

(Another branch of Dive!, in Las Vegas, Nevada, has also closed.)

This place is a real dive. No, not that kind of dive... it's "DIVE!," the submarine command to submerge.

And believe it or not, this celebrity restaurant does just that, about once every half hour.

This unique restaurant in Century City is yet another product of the colorful imagination of director Steven Spielberg. First he gave us "Jaws," "E.T.," and "Jurassic Park," and now he has given us a restaurant shaped like a submarine.

Spielberg's fascination with underwater adventures began when read "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" as a child. His recent TV show, "SeaQuest DSV." centered around a futuristic submarine, so it's no surprise that Dive! is made to resemble a giant sub. Not just any sub, mind you, but a quirky, neon-yellow submarine that looks as if it just escaped from a Beatles' cartoon. The side entrance to the USS Dive is a giant, open hatch. The round porthole windows are filled with water and trails of bubbles. And there's even a mammoth olive on top of the conning tower.

Inside, the decor resembles something you might find at a Disneyland theme restaurant: a maze of metal catwalks, exposed conduits, pressure gauges, throttles, control panels, sonar screens, and artfully-placed video screens filled with images of fish and blue underwater scenes. (That isn't too surprising, since another partner in the restaurant is former-Disney wunderkind & current Dreamworks ally, Jeffrey Katzenberg.)

Four working periscopes allow guests to zoom and pan in on the action outside in the shopping center (or spy on their fellow diners).  The seats at the bar resemble torpedoes topped with round targets. Upstairs, a fleet of model ships and subs circle the ceiling.



People magazine reports that both the Fonz (Henry Winkler)and 007 (Pierce Brosnan) are becoming regulars, and that other celebs who have dined at Dive! include Tom Hanks, Rob Reiner, Candice Bergen, Warren Beatty, the Olsen Twins and Michael Keaton.

Rumor has it that Spielberg decided to build the restaurant because he could find a single submarine sandwich in Los Angeles which measured up to his childhood memories.

Spielberg's ads read: "Deep. See. Experience." Once every half hour or so, the restaurant... submerges. Well, sort of.  Sirens blare, red lights flash and commands of "Dive!" echo about the room, as the giant video screens fill with bubbles. They have an oddball sense of humor here. As the "dive" ends, the Captain's voice asks what can be seen from the periscope. The music then resumes with a song such as "I Can See Clearly Now" or "I See a Bad Moon Rising"...




There's a happy, party atmosphere here at Dive!, and the noise level is high, especially on weekend nights, when the place is packed with young faces. The slick, lengthy menu lists dozens of (what else?) exotic submarine sandwiches, from the traditional Italian sub to the unconventional (e.g. a soft shell crab sub, a fajitas sub or a Chinese chicken salad sub). Prices for the sandwiches range from $7.95 to $12.95. There are lots of salads, a few entrees for heartier appetites (roast chicken, ribs), and a lengthy parade of desserts.

They also like puns here: the menu headings include "Sub-Sides," "Sub-stantial Salads," and "Sub-Lime Desserts."

Portions are large: most of the submarine sandwiches can easily be shared by two, and the desserts are humongous. Be warned that although the prices seem low at first glance, the bill can add up quickly if you're not careful, since almost all appetizers, desserts and side dishes are $5.00. Alas, the food itself doesn't quite measure up to all the hype - it's fairly predictable stuff, for the most part.

(Recently, the restaurant departed from its submarine sandwich-heavy menu (due to a decline in repeat business) and added a wider range of food items, including pizza, pasta and seafood. Subs now make up just 20% of the menu.)

In the tradition of The Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, you can also buy a wide range of Dive! souvenirs, including T-shirts, baseball caps, denim vests, boxer shorts, key chains, even a diver's watch. Your server can ring these items up for you, and bring them directly to your table. You can even buy the menu for $5. Or a leather jacket for $580.

The 300-seat restaurant opened in May of 1994, in the Marketplace food court of the Century City Shopping Center - right next door to the Stage Deli, and across from the AMC Century 14 multiplex theatres, so you might be able to watch a Spielberg movie before dining at a Spielberg restaurant! This is expected to be the first of many such Dives! around the U.S. (they have already opened a new Dive restaurant in Las Vegas.)

Getting there: From Rodeo Drive, take Santa Monica Boulevard southwest (about a mile and a quarter) to the Century City Shopping Center. Look for the bright yellow submarine on the left (south) side of the street.








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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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