At The Bar with Brandon and Jordan La Manna

Best known as the siblings behind the LaManna & Sons empire, Brandon and Jordan are proof that brothers who work together, are also likely to share a knock-off drink too.

The well-travelled pair talk to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series revealing their favourite bars and restaurants around the world, and what they’re likely to order when the drink list hits the table.

The brothers are the first to admit they feel a strong sense of duty to carry on with the family business their grandparents set up; it’s all about paying it forward to the generations yet to come.

“Our grandparents came to Australia to give us a better life and they absolutely did,” says Brandon La Manna.

“The plan is to keep the business growing in our lifetime and working with family is part of who I am,” he adds.

“I left school and started working full time with Dad. I tried university, and after two lectures, I rang him to say I didn’t like how someone with no business experience is trying to teach me business. That was 11 years ago and I don’t look back on that at all,” says Brandon.

For Jordan, keeping it in the family is only half of the story.

“Communication, delegation and determination is key to how we run the business,” he says.

“We all have the same goal and we work well together because we all know what each other’s strengths are.”

MY CITY

BRANDON: Melbourne. I’ve been very lucky to see a lot of the world, and you just can’t beat it here. There is honestly no place I would rather live.

JORDAN: Melbourne, inner city suburbs. Where can I start – coffee, food, culture and diversity. Melbourne has it all.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

BRANDON: I will never forget meeting celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at Spago in Beaver Creek, Colorado. We had met him about two weeks earlier in LA, and he was so happy to see us again. We talked with him all night. I was probably 16 years old and I will never forget that.

JORDAN:
While on a trip to New York, we booked a restaurant called Carbone months in advance. From the moment we stepped in, it was an experience. The vodka pasta, to die for! The service was also the best I have ever experienced.

FAVOURITE BAR

BRANDON: The Royce Hotel on St Kilda Rd – so cool and it has a sense of class about it. There’s marble everywhere and the place just feels like home. You’ll see me there drinking a scotch and soda.

JORDAN: I’d have to say Ghost of Alfred Felton (upstairs at the Espy). The decor is awesome, feels like a bit of a time warp, it’s got live music, and service is great. A negroni for me.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU


BRANDON:
A STRONG vodka martini. Like my personality, it’s strong and to the point. It’s also quite nice too.

JORDAN: I don’t have them too often, but would have to be a really good negroni. It’s Italian, bold, a little bitter, but is actually sweet.

BEST HANGOVER CURE


BRANDON:
Absolutely no doubt about it a panini from our Panini Bar. But when I am too hungover or simply too lazy it has to be Nandos – the chips are the best, I can’t fault them.

JORDAN: I have to agree with Brandon, a Panini from our Panini Bar matched with a strong 3⁄4 full latte from our cafe.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

BRANDON: The Malibu Racquet Club in Burleigh Heads and The Rooftop Bar at The Intercontinental Double Bay.  I’ve made some great memories at both.

JORDAN: Hard one. Would have to say Palmer and Co, Abercrombie Lane Sydney – the Merivale Group have the recipe just right. The old-fashion cocktail I had there was amazing.

FAVOURITE WINE

BRANDON: 2007 Dom Perignon, it’s the champagne my wife and I drank after we got engaged. It was the most expensive bottle I think I’ve ever purchased from a restaurant, but it was obviously worth it.

JORDAN: La Bancale Arrosoir Rosé Roussillon, France. This rosé went down like water.

FAVOURITE WINERY

BRANDON: Chard Farm in Queenstown, New Zealand. So cool, highly recommend it to everyone who I know is going to NZ.

JORDAN: Levantine Hill Estate.

NEXT DESTINATION

BRANDON: Mauritius, my wife is Mauritian so we are going on a family holiday towards the end of the year.

JORDAN: Hopefully London to see the Good Wood festival of speed. I love motorsport.

A DRINK YOUR SHARE WITH YOUR SIBLINGS AND WHY

BRANDON: This is definitely different with each sibling. With my brother Jordan, we don’t get to drink together much so when we do, literally anything is a go – from beer to wine to long island ice teas (yes, when we drink together, we usually get drunk). With my sisters, it’s a nice cocktail because when we do have the opportunity to drink together, it’s at a family dinner which is usually at a nice restaurant.

JORDAN: Can’t go past an ice cold Great Northern with dad and my brother, or a glass of rosé with my sisters and mum.

ON FAMILY LIFE

Running a family business is a dream, but it is very, very hard work. It requires so much dedication and determination. We have so many moving parts to our business, and we strive to continue to grow, learn and do as much as we can for our customers and team.

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