Irv’s Burgers, a landmark on Route 66 in West Hollywood, Calif., for more than a half-century, was served a 30-day notice to vacate the premises by its landlord, according to Scott Piotrowski, an expert on Route 66 in Los Angeles County.
It’s not certain when Irv’s last day of operation is. But Piotrowski said the restaurant likely will be gone by the end of June. Sonia Hong and her family, who are Korean immigrants, have faithfully operated Irv’s since 2000.
Piotrowski wrote on the Route 66 yahoogroup:
The property owners and Sonia, the operator of Irv’s, have not had a long-term lease agreement in place for many years. It has been a month-to-month situation.
The property owners have attempted to institute a rent hike of approximately 67% on Sonia at the property. I am not sure of the details as to how or why, but for some reason that did not ever go through.
Last month, a 30-day vacate notice was served to Sonia and her family.
At this time, it is unclear as to how long Sonia actually will remain open at Irv’s Burgers. We know it will go through this weekend. It is expected at this time that Irv’s will close on June 29.
We know that the property owners have wanted to remove Sonia and her family from the location for some time. With the monument status, we BELIEVE that a demolition permit would not be able to be granted. However, it is possible that once there is no operating business within the building, the owners may attempt either an illegal demolition or more likely to try to show it as an unviable business / building and ask for an exemption. It is also possible that they property owners are looking to bring in a new tenant willing to pay the rent that they requested of Sonia.
Piotrowski is asking roadies to patronize Irv’s Burgers in the next few weeks or so to show support and deliver a “thank-you” to the Hongs. In the meantime, the Burger Brigade, which a group of local activists whose protests prevented the removal of Irv’s nine years ago, will try to search for a new site for the Hongs to run.
It’s been known for months that developers wanted to create a Beach Cafe lounge and restaurant in that site, and actually had a plan in place to merge Irv’s into the design. Apparently negotiations to keep Irv’s there fell through, or the developers abandoned that part of the plan.
Irv’s originally was a Queen’s Burgers stand back in 1950. It’s at 8289 Santa Monica Blvd. George Motz, host of the Travel Channel’s “Burger Land,” has often cited Irv’s as having one of the best burgers in the country.
UPDATE 6/19/2013: I received this emailed statement from Tamara White, public information officer with the City of West Hollywood:
Irv’s is located in a historic building that is not being demolished but is instead being rehabilitated in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Resources. For clarification, the Irv’s building was designated by the City as a local cultural resource in 2005, providing specific protection of the structure. It cannot be torn down without several stringent findings being made at a public hearing per West Hollywood Municipal Code 19.58.110.
The approved plans allow for both buildings on the site to be rehabilitated into two restaurants. The plans include the renovation and reuse of the former auto repair building, including an outdoor dining patio, and the rehabilitation of the Irv’s building to remain as a restaurant. The current entitlements require that the rehabilitation work to the building in which Irv’s Burgers is currently a tenant be completed prior to the opening of the second restaurant on site. Although the City has no authority with regard to commercial landlord and tenant matters, we have been in contact with both and offered them our assistance.
UPDATE 6/22/2013: The operators of Irv’s have been told they can stay at their location until they find another. The developers reportedly have made an offer to buy them out.
(Photo of Irv’s Burgers by waltarrrr via Flickr)