A Piece of Cake

By Tony Lovitt
Photos by Paul Body

Long before Tosh Berman became - in his twenties - a restaurateur, real estate developer and legend in the luxury hospitality industry, he dreamed of emulating his father and becoming an architect and designer.

Now 35, Berman has the best of both worlds as co-founder of EveryDay Life (EDL), which owns and operates the new Cake Nightclub (757 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp) and Toca Madera (Spanish for "knock on wood"), offering "barrio-style fine dining" next door to Cake (755 Fifth Avenue) beginning in November.

"I'm so intimately involved in every design aspect of what we do in our projects, and my partner [EDL co-founder Amrou "Rou" Manaseer] really is, too," says Berman, who collaborated with Costa Mesa interior design firm Davis Ink Ltd. "There's not an inch of that place [Cake] that I wasn't intimately involved in creating."

According to Berman, the Cake Nightclub brand concept derived from discussions with his former business partner, the late Matt Bendik, regarding how to follow their wildly successful and internationally acclaimed AV Nightclub in Hollywood, a frequent haunt of A-list celebrities. They decided that the next generation of their nightlife projects would focus on "the essence of femininity and what women would really want in a nightclub space," Berman says.

His rationale: Where women go, men will follow.

Opulence and outstanding service are signatures of Cake, billed as a place "trendsetters go for an unmatched evening of sights and sounds." Berman says the venue represents the antithesis of a "big, Vegas-style, cattle-call nightclub where they just open the floodgates and let anyone in, if they pay a cover."

Berman grew up in Santa Barbara, went to boarding school in Colorado and was a member of the U.S. Ski Team. When a back injury ended his competitive skiing, he decided to follow his cultural roots to Israel.

"I did my last semester of high school in Israel and then proceeded to stay, and went to Hebrew University in Jerusalem there for my first undergraduate degree," says Berman, who also studied at the University of Colorado.

His hospitality career, which includes owning and operating restaurants and nightclubs in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, began in Denver.

"I started at the very bottom and moved my way up from dishwasher to bar back to busser, waiter, bartender, bar manager, then general manager," says Berman. "And then I opened my first venue when I was 23 or 24 in Denver."

Now on top of his game, Berman is currently planning new hospitality projects in Cabo, Chicago, and L.A. There's a two-week waiting list for a dinner reservation at Toca Madera in West Hollywood. Similar popularity is being predicted for the much-anticipated Toca Madera San Diego... knock on wood.

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