California Restaurants That Made Positive Impacts in Hospitality

Jan 11, 2022

California has long been a bastion of art and culture. Want proof? Look no further than our restaurants. Eateries from the Golden State have changed the culinary world in more ways than one – and today, in honor of California restaurant month, let’s look at three CA restaurants that made our industry a little bit better.

The Brown Derby Created Cobb Salad

It’s the perfect summer dish: greens, tomato, chicken, bacon, eggs, avocado, and Roquefort cheese, all tossed together for a tasty, refreshing lunch. These days, you can find a Cobb salad on just about every menu in the country – but this salad owes its roots to the famous California restaurant the Brown Derby.


Cobb Salad


In the 1920s, the Brown Derby was the hottest spot in LA for celebrity sightings, as it was a popular spot for studio execs and stars to grab a bite. And while the original Brown Derby no longer stands, owner Robert Cobb’s namesake salad has left an indelible (and delicious) mark on restaurants around the world.

In-N-Out Invented the Drive-Thru

Fast food has practically taken over the restaurant world today, offering convenience and quick, hot meals to folks on the go. So, who would believe that this game-changing idea was born in some quiet suburb in Baldwin Park? That’s exactly where Harry and Esther Snyder lived when they founded In-N-Out Burger.

In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger


In 1948, the Snyders built a small burger stand near their home and set up a drive-thru lane, complete with a two-way speaker Harry built himself. Before long the idea took off, with fast food companies like Wendy’s and Wienerschnitzel (another CA-based brand) incorporating the drive-thru into their buildings, too.

Chez Panisse Created “Cali Cuisine”

The 1970s marked the California “food revolution” – but it would never have happened without Alice Waters, owner of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse. Waters’ restaurant served Mediterranean cuisine, but she was passionate about using locally sourced and fresh ingredients. In her efforts to find the best produce California could offer, she inadvertently developed a network that restauranteurs and local farmers have been using for the past 50 years!

Without Chez Panisse, there is no “farm-to-table.” Without Chez Panisse, there is no “Californian cuisine.” And, due to the countless chefs who worked under her, without Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, the entire food industry would be a lot smaller.

California restaurants have hugely impacted on the culinary world, from the highest-rated restaurants to the greasiest of fast-food joints. So, this month, give the California food scene it is due and visit your favorite restaurant.

Looking for ideas to refresh your menu in 2022? Look to Synergy – we have over 30 years of experience working with restaurants large and small, independent and chains, to help create relevant menus that satisfy consumer tastes!