Meet the man
Los Angeles native Brian Vidor has a tough guy air about him. Someone who would have done well in the Wild West. A Gene Hackman character. Having owned Typhoon since day one, Brian has become as much a fixture here as the old wooden bar. He patrols the restaurant, keeping things running smoothly and greeting customers with his signature glass of crystal liquid in hand. He wanted Typhoon to be his very own Rick's Café Américain from Casablanca; and much like Carlos Haro, Sr. who founded the Casablanca restaurant in nearby Venice, he succeeded.
A pilot himself, Brian stumbled upon the venue by accident, “I was sorta changing careers and looking to do a restaurant,” he explains. “I was flying from Carlsbad and there used to be a field pit here and [when I landed] there was no field pit, but the windows were here and there was a sign on the window said ‘Restaurant Space For Lease.'” He couldn’t believe his luck, “I was looking at other places and I couldn’t find anything that I really liked, but the fact that I’m a pilot and landed here... I marched right in there and said, ‘Let’s make a deal!’” Serendipity prevailed and after a year of getting licensed, commissioning local artists for the unique decor, and negotiating with the city (a decades-long battle Santa Monica has finally won), Typhoon opened its doors.
Brian had worked throughout Asia for 20 years caring for large animals and wound up falling in love with the food, “I really had some great food starting with Japan and then I went all over.” He curated the menu himself selecting his favorite dishes from Bangkok to Tokyo. “The chefs have changed. We’ve had Filipino, Chinese, and Korean chefs but a lot of the dishes are the same.” The current chef, Leo Vigildo, started in 1994. “A lot of these guys have been here since the beginning.” What’s Brian’s favorite choice on the menu? “It’s hard after 25 years,” he says. “I’m big into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches these days.”