Saturday, October 20, 2018
C&A Restaurant Spot Light: Pip’s on LaBrea
By Brian W. Carter (Staff Writer)
Published September 18, 2012

Derrick Pipkin, event planner and restaurant owner, makes sure his clients’ time is always enjoyable photo by Brian W. Carter

One of the best spots for Italian cuisine and simple elegance can be found in the area.

Derrick Pipkin has created a cozy and elegant spot in Mid-City Los Angeles called Pip’s on La Brea: Fine Dining and Entertainment (PLB). He has had plenty of experience in creating a vibe and atmosphere that people have come to enjoy. Now, he is putting those same vibes in Pip’s, which have made it one of the best “date spots” in L.A.

A Los Angeles native, Pipkin grew up in the Baldwin Hills area of South L.A. He attended St. Agatha Elementary School and St. Bernard High School in Playa Del Rey. Pipkin graduated from University High and attended Santa Monica College. He found his niche in life early on, throwing house parties.

“I’ve always done events—I’m an event person,” said Pipkin. “ Literally, from doing house parties when my parents used to go out of town, that’s kind of how it all got started.”

He threw house parties with some of the same antics we’ve come to love in the movies—inebriated guests and a trashed house. “They would go out of town on Friday, we do a party Saturday, a pool party Saturday night and another party on Sunday,” said Pipkin.

The wild parties were just the beginning of something that would bridge into throwing parties at clubs, ballrooms and other venues. Pipkin would visit Atlanta for many of these events until he got an idea.

“I said I was going to create an event that people from the East Coast can come out to L.A.,” said Pipkin. “I bought out a [Palm Springs] Hotel for the weekend and pretty much, [it] was what we did at my parents house for the weekend.”

Pipkin’s parties are weekend extravaganzas that include champagne meet-and-greets, live jazz, white linen casino parties, and celebrity entertainment. It was from the parties-in-palm-springs that “Pips” came into play, which also happens to be Pipkin’s nickname.

“Everybody calls me “Pip”—I was like, ‘Oh, I have to do that,’” said Pipkin.

Along with his partner, General Lee, Pipkin, for the next 16 years, would bring up to 2,500 people out to Palm Springs from all over. Started in 1997, Pipkin’s parties are still the rage to this day. The “Event King” continues to put on a variety of concerts, parties and events throughout the Los Angeles area. He would eventually come to start a restaurant on Pico and La Brea.

Formerly an Italian restaurant and later a Korean karaoke spot, Pipkin saw an opportunity in the place he had become fond of when it was Anna Maria’s Italian Restaurant. He had been a customer of the restaurant thanks to his grandfather for many years.

“My grandfather used to come here and [brought] me here for 20 years,” said Pipkin. “I ate here for twenty years.”

The food, atmosphere and location left an impression on Pipkin. When he saw that the spot had been abandoned and boarded up, he made the move to turn it into a hot spot again. He changed it into an Italian restaurant and named it “Pips on La Brea.”

“My friends, when they would come from out of town, I would have nowhere to take them—that I would like to take them to,” said Pipkin. “I said I was going to create that spot.”

PLB opened in May of 2010 and is a fine dining, Italian restaurant. The atmosphere is simple and elegant with a touch of jazz influence in an intimate setting. It also features an outside patio for those who would like to enjoy the elements. Altogether, it makes for a transport to a high class dining experience.

Their menu features Italian favorites such as pasta, pizza and antipasti. Their signature dish is the Creole Fettuccine and Paisano Salad. “The stuffed artichokes—for some reason, the women love the stuffed artichokes,” said Pipkin.

PLB also features live entertainment along with their fine dining experience. “We do live music [at Pip’s]—Barbara Morrison, Michelle Coltrane, Shea Welsh & Friends, {etc.],” said Pipkin.

“All we want to do is make sure we give people great service, great food and great ambiance,” said Pipkin. “I think that’s what we’ve been able to do.”

Pip’s on La Brea: Fine Dining and Entertainment is located at 1356 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. You can reach them at (323) 954-7477 or visit at

Pip’s on La Brea is a fine dining experience in the heart of Los Angeles. photo by Brian W. Carter

Categories: Crenshaw & Around

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