We spend a lot of our days chatting with each other about things we see online, trying to make sense of it all. This week in the Styles newsletter, Wait …, our reporter Taylor Lorenz talked to the manager of BOA Steakhouse, the Los Angeles restaurant that has attracted Gen Z influencers and their fans. Sign up here to get Wait in your inbox.
For Gen Z influencers looking to see and be seen in Los Angeles, there’s only one place to go: BOA Steakhouse.
On any given night, the crowd at the West Hollywood restaurant is a who’s who of the internet. YouTube stars including Tana Mongeau, Jake Paul and James Charles have dined there, and A-list TikTokers have made it their go-to spot. When one of the Sway Boys has a birthday, or a Hype House member wants to celebrate reaching 20 million followers, BOA is the spot.
Paul Antosca, who has been the manager at BOA Steakhouse for two and a half of its 20 years in business, said the restaurant’s popularity with internet personalities started with FaZe Clan, the gaming collective. In 2018, FaZe Banks and his crew came in for dinner. Mr. Antosca struck up a friendship with the group, and they began dining there regularly.
When a group of Hype House members took over FaZe Clan’s sprawling 12,000-square-foot mansion in the Hollywood Hills this spring, they continued the BOA tradition. “The first time they came in we wrote ‘Hype House’ on a plate, and they all raved and posted about it,” said Mr. Antosca. Before long, every major Gen Z influencer began dining there.
Mr. Antosca said that part of the reason he thinks influencers love BOA is because of the celebrity treatment they get. While they might be C-listers at hot spots like Catch or Craig’s, they’re stars at BOA. “A lot of these influencers have my phone number and they know they can call and there’s no having to explain who they are,” he said.
The staff also takes great care to protect its high-profile clientele. “There are guests now that try to potentially get a picture with these stars, but we have security on site at all times,” Mr. Antosca said. “We don’t allow photos other than at your table. If anyone aims a camera at another table, we don’t allow that.”
BOA’s staff has been working hard to keep the restaurant safe. Servers wear face shields, gloves, and masks for protection. Guests are encouraged to socially distance while dining on the outdoor patio.
Mr. Antosca said that since TikTokers began showing up he’s noticed a lot more young guests coming in with their parents. They’ve seen BOA on YouTube videos and Instagram posts from influencers and want to post about the experience themselves. “The younger generation try to take TikToks in the building,” he said. “That’s a common thing now.”
Teens flock to BOA in the hopes of spotting TikTok stars like Charli D’Amelio, Addison Easterling and Noah Beck. “It’s like going to Disney World: You know you’re going to see a character at some point, it’s part of the experience,” Mr. Antosca said. The BOA Instagram account itself has gained 10,000 new followers in the past few months from the publicity.
For influencers, dinner at BOA often includes a photo op, too. Fletcher Greene, the paparazzo behind the Hollywood Fix, is usually parked outside the restaurant, catching stars on their way in and out. He’s become such a staple that many fans have questioned whether he and the restaurant coordinate plans. Mr. Antosca said there’s no truth to those rumors, and if guests want to enter through the side door to avoid Mr. Greene, he’ll happily accommodate them.
The BOA-to-Hollywood Fix pipeline is real, however. “One day I’m pulling up to BOA and imma convince Hollywood Fix I’m famous,” one Twitter user posted. “How do I secure an ambush interview with the Hollywood Fix guy do I just loiter around boa steakhouse?” another recently joked.
Mr. Antosca said you don’t have to be an influencer to dine at BOA. He strives to give all customers a memorable experience and said that the restaurant does not comp meals as a policy. Many people have tried, unsuccessfully, to catch the restaurant slipping up or providing preferential treatment. “We get five calls a day where people say they’re Charli D’Amelio or Addison Rae,” he said. “They’re tape recording it and want to see how we respond.”
When it comes to the food, Mr. Antosca said that the Snow Beef Wagyu is most influencers’ go-to dish. “It’s expensive and they want to feel like they’re doing big things,” he said. “A lot of influencers that want to show off get the Snow Beef. It’s $50 and our highest priced item.”
BOA’s custom desserts are also famous. “What we’ve noticed is the social media guests celebrate lots of milestones, whether it be 5 million followers, or they broke a record, or joined a new house, we’ll make a special dessert,” said Mr. Antosca. “We’ll customize the number 5 million out of chocolate or write their IG name on there.”
Mr. Antosca said he’s enjoyed getting to know the younger generation of stars throughout BOA’s time in the limelight. “Personally I’m inspired by so many of this young talent,” he said.
And when they call for a reservation? “The first thing someone says these days is, ‘Hey, I’m an influencer,’” Mr. Antosca said. “I say, ‘Just so you’re aware, BOA doesn’t do influencer comps, but I’ll definitely assist you in getting a reservation.’”