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Seven Questions with The Dolce Group

The Dolce Group partners Mike Malin and Lonnie Moore
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LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions with..."

Today's subjects are Lonnie Moore and Mike Malin, partners in The Dolce Group. These very successful restaurant and nightlife entrepreneurs based in Los Angeles are the minds behind five hot properties in LA: Dolce, Ketchup, Geisha House, Bella and Les Deux with a sixth on the way. Two years ago the best friends decided to expand outside of LA and currently have properties in Reno, Atlanta, Dallas and Huntsville, AL.

1) You each have backgrounds in entertainment, how did that help in your transition in to the hospitality industry?

Mike Malin: I think it helped because we already knew a lot of people in the industry. Dealing with trendy markets, like we do, it's valuable that you know the people who make this town go around. Not only when you are in search of investors, but when you are also looking for the right clientele to frequent your businesses.

2) What were some of the challenges you had to deal with when you first decided to open up Geisha House on Hollywood Blvd?
MM: Five years ago, Hollywood was known as a great place for bars and clubs, but not a great place for restaurants. We knew that people wanted a nice place to have a meal before hitting up the bars and clubs. The restaurant's success was definitely a key to the resurgence to Hollywood. You look now within the five block radius, you'll see tons of place have opened.

Lonnie Moore: Pioneers is what I like to call ourselves.

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MM: There really wasn’t any challenge as far as the location goes, build it and they shall come. It wasn’t the location, it was the size of a restaurant. Everyone was asking, how in the world are you going to be able to fill this monstrosity on a nightly basis?

LM: It was great because once we started going good, we notice another club is popping up over here and another right there. People need a place to eat and we're within a block of all the nightlife action.