JJ’s Steakhouse – Old Town, Pasedena
JJ’s Steakhouse began with Michael Viscuso’s search for basement space in Old Town Pasadena to build a night club. While in the entitlement stage, the landlord showed him a space on the upper floor and asked if he would be interested in opening a restaurant while awaiting approval of the basement space. Michael was intrigued, knowing of only one steakhouse in Old Town Pasadena. He had always wanted to do a fine dining steakhouse and envisioned a more contemporary interpretation hiring Edward Turrentine, a local designer who had his hand on the pulse of Old Town Pasadena.
The space consisted of three dining areas. Interiors were cozy, cool and elegant in shades of deep purple. A cognac cigar room specializing in cognacs and single malt scotches was later converted to a private dining room to meet the large demand for corporate gatherings. Outside was a large shaded dining terrace overlooking the most popular block of Colorado Boulevard, a prime redevelopment area and home of the famous Rose Parade.
Starting with a empty space of concrete floors, Viscuso built a restaurant garnering some of the industry’s highest awards. Michael’s brother Ralph continued the legacy for another twelve years. As one of only two restaurants recommended by the Ritz Carlton Hotel to their guests, JJ’s received Zagat’s top award and was voted most romantic restaurant in Pasadena. Featured on multiple TV stations over the years, JJ’s tied for the prestigious number one steakhouse in LA with Wolfgang Puck’s location at the Beverly Wilshire. Reviewed by the famed Elmer Dills as LA’s best steakhouse, menu items featured certified angus and Sterling Silver certified meats, with a variety of Kobe and Wagu beef, fresh seafood, free-range chicken and Colorado lamb chops.