All dreams start somewhere, this is where our dream began...
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Lisa Eriksen’s passion for creating delicious recipes began in the late 1950s as a young wife, mother and new residence of California. She began hosting dinners for family and friends where she mastered her skills as a host, entertainer and chef. Guests would shower Lisa with compliments on her food and presentation. Many guests urged her to pursue a business in the food industry as a caterer or restaurant business owner. In the late 1970s the opportunity finally came as Lisa was left wondering how she could help earn money to support her family. Through a referral, Lisa was presented with an chance to learn the catering industry as she was hired at La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes, CA. After a year of gaining experience a an event planner, Lisa started her own catering business out of her home. After four years in 1979, Lisa opened her first restaurant location on Vista Montana in Torrance, CA and Lisa’s Bon Appetit was officially in business.
Lisa’s first cafe was a hit and very successful with the help of family and friends including her daughter Susanne. In 1982 the infamous Chinese Chicken Salad was born giving customers a reason to remember the name Lisa’s Bon Appétit. One of Lisa’s proudest catered events was that of her daughter’s wedding Susanne in 1983 to Mark Alexander. After the birth of Susanne’s son Leif in 1984, she began to play a key role in the business. Susanne handled the accounting, sales and cooking. Later in 1988 Susanne and her husband Mark bought and opened the second cafe at the Skypark Center in Torrance, CA. In 1989 Lisa Eriksen retired, handing the business over to Susanne, who was pregnant at the time with her and Mark’s son Ian. The Skypark center cafe remained open for 3 years with the help of Susanne’s sister Annette during the summer and was then sold in 1993. The business continued to cater events around the Torrance area and served its beloved Chinese chicken salad. In 1999, Lisa’s Bon Appétit outgrew its original location on Vista Montana and moved its operation to the Madison Park Plaza on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance, CA.
Lisa’s Bon Appétit’s new location on Pacific Coast Highway was a pivotal move as the location was more accessible and visible. The word spread quickly about Lisa’s Bon Appétit’s fresh salads, sandwiches and pastries, thus it became a prime lunch spot in the South Bay. Lisa’s Bon Appétit’s catering service was also booming as it developed partnerships with local venues, businesses and non-profits. Lisa’s Bon Appétit, received recognition from the “Daily Breeze and “Easy Reader” as the Best Caterer in the South Bay. In 2000 Susanne’s son, Leif began assisting the café side of the business until he graduated high school in 2003, thereafter he enlisted in the Marines and was deployed to Kuwait. During that time Susanne’s younger son, Ian began working in the cafe. In 2009, after returning home from the marines and college, Leif continued to work at Lisa’s Bon Appétit with Susanne and his younger brother Ian to build the business utilizing his logistical and operational skills learned from the Military and college. In 2010 Noelle Ramirez joined Lisa’s Bon Appétit and with her expertise in customer service, sales, graphic design and social media, she put Lisa’s Bon Appétit on the forefront with marketing and catering trends. Together with a strong team, the dream of expanding began to brew as the demand did.
In 2015, the dream began to take shape as Lisa’s Bon Appétit had outgrown their Madison Park Plaza location as they decided that it was time to separate the catering business from the cafe business. Susanne signed 3 new leases, the first for the new catering facility at the South Torrance Business Center on Lomita Boulevard and another two for their new cafe locations, one in the Town & Country Plaza in Torrance and the second at Elevon in El Segundo. After a year and a half of planning and building, the catering facility officially open it’s doors on November 21st, 2016.
Meanwhile Lisa’s Bon Appétit re-branded its cafes to Lisa’s Cafe & Bakery which is available on both DoorDash & GrubHub. With the separation from catering, the cafe locations will be receiving more attention to detail. Under the vision and management of Ian Alexander, the cafe will undergo many changes to improve menu selections, and levels of service and the exciting new addition of beer and wine at the Elevon location. Lisa's Cafe & Bakery location in Torrance will be opening it's doors officially in August and the El Segundo location will officially open in September.