Brand 158 (named after its address) is an American restaurant located on the corner of Brand and Harvard, and the one thing it’s been receiving the most hype for is its no-tipping policy. In fact, its extensive menu has a section where it explains its reasoning behind the European-inspired idea, stating, “At many levels, tips create dynamics which conflict with our intended ambiance. We are less interested in turning tables, and more interested in returning tables.” It’s an admirable mentality, and a revolutionary move made in the restaurant world. But does the food and service match up to Brand 158’s bold flaunting of its no-tips policy, preference for cards over cash and homemade ingredients?
Rating: 4/5 With earth tones and bold, warm woodwork, Brand 158’s ambiance is chic and polished. Swivel chairs add a nice touch of sincere consideration for customers’ comfort, and the best part: they’re actually comfortable. The restaurant’s interior is spacious and airy, allowing individual tables to enjoy privacy and natural light to filter in. The TV screens above the bartender allow a sleek transition between restaurant and bar.
Rating: 5/5 Brand 158’s philosophy behind no tipping and preference for plastic money is apparently the means to providing a more sanitary, hospitable environment for both employees and guests. The receipt is placed in a small metal bin, where customers then place their form of payment. Hence, there is minimal contact between servers’ hands and the food. The servers were pleasant and happy to casually chat and express their own opinions about selected dishes, such as the Brand 158’s signature burger with a homemade brioche bun. Oh, and of course the servers also diligently talked about the no-tipping policy before anything else, and brought along a basket of slim, fresh breadsticks.
Rating: 3.5/5 The options are nearly overwhelming, but perhaps that’s typical for most large American restaurants. From pastas and pizzas to meat and fish options, it takes some time to look over before making a decision. The Brand 158 signature burger comes with fried onions, seared tomato and lettuce off to the side; three dipping sauces, ketchup, garlic aioli and one with an espresso base; a choice of regular, sweet potato or truffle French fries. While nothing spectacular, the brioche bun was delightfully fresh, soft and light juxtaposed to the thick burger that was a tad bit too dry. The truffle fries with Parmesan and chives sounded promising, but were far too salty to thoroughly enjoy. On the other hand, the tequila chicken pasta in a savory tequila cream sauce was well done, with moist and tender chicken pieces resting atop perfect al dente fettuccine.
Location: 158 S Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91204
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thurs: 11:30 am – 10:30 pm; Fri-Sat: 11:30 am – 11 pm