Meet the Elite: Gary I, LA East


Welcome to Meet The Elite, where we let you in on the lives of some of our top community members. Today we meet Gary I, born and raised in Glendale, who has a keen sense of taste and a rich thirst for knowledge. Yelping since March ‘11, Gary’s beautifully written verses will make you fall in love with Los Angeles a trillion times over. He’s cool. Find out why below.


Why did you start yelping?

I joined various meetup groups in 2011, and many times we referred to Yelp to give us an idea of what to expect when we had an event at a restaurant. I started to Yelp as an exercise in writing reviews that often touch on the cuisine, culture, history, customs, linguistics, geography relating to the business, since as a former teacher, I’m still instinctively trying to edify.

What’s your favorite local biz?

No matter in which direction the prevailing winds of culinary trends may blow, Mako Sushi in Little Tokyo DTLA is my favorite spot for amazing Japanese cuisine and warm service. It’s like going to a small, intimate neighborhood restaurant on a little side street in old Tokyo. It’s the old school traditions and customs that keep me coming back time and time again.

What’s your dream Yelp event?

Ideal YEE (Yelp Elite Event) would be Menu de Gustation de Truffe Blanche avec Association de Vins et Mets at Patina with Sommelier Sylvestre Fernandes.

What are you doing when you’re not Yelping?

I’m a culture vulture who goes to Obscura outings; Meetup language exchanges; UYEs; restauranting from down home to tres haut; underground leather events; and sake and wine tastings. Los Angeles has a plethora of things to do and see that even if one could stay up 24/7, there would be no way to keep up. Life’s a banquet; one can never be bored here.

Don’t take our word for it!

“Gary I’s vast knowledge of the gourmet dining restaurant scene in Los Angeles is on display every time he Yelps. His reviews have outstanding writing and provide so many excellent and helpful details. His love of history and culture show every time he writes a review; it’s not just about the venue, but about its role in history and culture. He is truly a cut above, the elite of the Elite.” – Isobel L

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Want to nominate yo’self or a fellow LA East Elite? Please fill out this Meet the Elite form.
About the Yelp Elite Squad: The Yelp Elite Squad is our way of recognizing people who are active in the Yelp community – people who are role models both on and off the site. Elite-worthiness is based on a number of things, including well-written reviews, high quality tips, a detailed personal profile, an active voting and complimenting record, and a history of playing well with others. Elites must use their real name on their account, have a real (and clear!) profile photo, and be of legal drinking age in their country. You can read more, and even nominate yourself at