I love running an event venue. Life is a celebration, and my job is literally to help people achieve that, to create moments that are cooler, more fun, and more memorable than the ordinary. I love my family, my community and my friends. Nothing is more important. I come from a very supportive and loving Armenian family, and I couldn’t be more proud.All that said, I wince whenever someone says the term “Armenian venue.”
There’s nothing wrong with being an Armenian venue, and I’m happy to represent my family and country as an Armenian-American business owner. I’m uncomfortable with the term for two reasons.
Vertigo caters to everyone. Everyone is welcome. Vegan? No problem, ask about our kale and cashew cheese options. Kosher? We’re happy to break out the blowtorches to sterilize the kitchen (or, more realistically, consult with a rabbi). Gay, straight, young, old, Korean, Latino, Texan – it doesn’t matter. We’ll take care of you.
The term Armenian Club, Armenian Venue, Armenian anything falls into the same trap as any other ethnic business. There’s a subtle implication of otherness, of being not as good. On one hand no one in the events business wants to be identified by the “ethnic” niche. It’s restrictive and unwelcoming, the last things a venue for celebrations wants to be. Sugarfish isn’t a just a great Japanese restaurant, it’s a great restaurant. The Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills isn’t an (insert ethnicity here) hotel, it’s a hotel. Period. At Vertigo, we aim to be the best venue in Los Angeles. No, even that’s too restrictive. We aim to be the best venue in the world. No qualifiers.
On the other hand, I (and many of our staff) are Armenian-American. Armenians are famous for our traditions of hospitality, feasting, and celebrating. I grew up in a household where celebrating and parties were a way of life. I’m proud to embody the Armenian spirit of hospitality and celebration. But I’m more than my ethnicity, and so is my business. The Armenian American community has been incredibly supportive, and our knowledge of Armenian culture has helped us plan some spectacular Armenian celebrations. We’ve also hosted everything from corporate events to quinceañeras to Chinese New Year’s to Korean weddings. We pride ourselves in providing exemplary assistance to every client, no matter where they’re from.