Landmark Irv’s Burgers, Facing Eviction, to Close Next Month

Tue, Jun 18, 2013   By Staff    13 Comments
irv's burgers, santa monica boulevard restaurantUPDATE: WeHo Councilmember Jeff Prang responds. Calls situation “really frustrating.” Click here.

Irv’s Burgers, a West Hollywood landmark for 63 years, will close in July according to Route66News.com, a website devoted to the history of that iconic stretch of highway, which includes Santa Monica Boulevard.

Route66News reports that the hamburger stand, which sits near the northeast corner of Santa Monica and Sweetzer, has been served an eviction notice by its landlord, Standard Oil Investment Management.

The City of West Hollywood designated Irv’s Burgers as a cultural resource in 2005 after a campaign dubbed the “Burger Brigade” that was sparked by the property owner’s plan to demolish it and use the area for parking for a Peet’s Coffee planned for the adjacent lot. That lot, vacant since then, is now the site of Beach Nation, a project still under construction of Thomas Schoos, the architect whose stylish O Bar on the same block closed in 2011 to be replaced by Don’t Tell Mama, the restaurant and cabaret.

According to a statement released by the city on Tuesday, “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.”

Sonia Hong, owner of Irv’s, said her landlord has attempted to more than double her rent to $10,000 and put her on a month-to-month lease, which makes the eviction possible. The city’s designation of the business as a cultural resource is no guarantee that it won’t be closed and the building demolished. If the property owner can prove that the building is in poor shape and reconstruction will be too expensive it likely will get permission to destroy it.

“It cannot be torn down without several stringent findings being made at a public hearing per West Hollywood Municipal Code 19.58.110,” according to the city’s statement.

The dispute is similar to one involving Beverly Hills developer Mehran Ebrahimpour over Henry’s Tacos in North Hollywood. Ebrahimpour opposed the taco stand owner’s attempt to have its Googie-style buidling designated an historic landmark, a designation that failed despite support from celebrities such as Elijah Wood and George Lopez, and Los Angeles mayoral candidate Jan Perry. Ebrahimpour raised the Henry’s Taco’s rent by more than 150 percent, forcing the business to close. Henry’s Tacos was forced to move in January.

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13 Comments

  1. marysiamiller123Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Another victory for the lobbyists and developers who run this city?

  2. MeTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 9:02 am

    cafe beach or beach nation???…the sign on the fence says beach nation

  3. Marco ColantonioTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I believe the name of the new operation at the corner is “Beach Nation” and it is sort of “Urth” Cafe with an outdoor fire pit. Something cool, clever and entrepreneurial is a welcome addition to that vacant lot , but the landlord should be forced to respectfully restore and retain Irv’s as it is indeed a cultural landmark. I think it important to note that the Beach Nation folks are not the bad guys in this equation.

  4. StaffTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the correction. It originally was going to be Cafe Beach, but in fact now is dubbed Beach Nation.

  5. Philip MershonTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    They may not be the bad guys, but I’m also not inclined to patronize a place that sits on the grave of Irv’s.

  6. SteveTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    this is so sad, I loved going there back in the 70’s and 80’s.. this reminds of the Yukon mining co.

  7. SnarkygalTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    From what I’ve read, Irv’s was supposed to be a part of Beach Nation, but then it wasn’t. Then the rent increase happened and the eviction notice went out.

    Also, the owner of Irv’s told everybody before the election to vote for Prang/Duran because they were pro-Irv’s. I hope the two Council members can do Irv’s building more than they have done for the Hong’s.

  8. MarkD323Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    So essentially, this is the same story West Hollywood Patch reported two months ago, WeHoville has just amped up the drama and left out essential facts?

    THESE are the facts:
    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 WHMC 19.58.110.

    The approved plans for the current project allow for both buildings on the site to be rehabilitated. The plans include the renovation and reuse of the former auto repair building as a restaurant, including an outdoor dining patio, and the rehabilitation of the Irv’s building.

    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.

    The City of West Hollywood has no authority with regard to commercial landlord and tenant matters, but word is that the city has been in contact with both owner and tenant and offered them assistance.

    The truth is rarely as sensational as WeHoville paints it.

  9. dana millerTue, Jun 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Lord, MarkD: That was record time to cut and paste Councilman John D’A’s thoughts from Facebook and make them yours. You should join a track team. Anyway, let’s not get too sentimental. They make burgers! And they make ‘em in kinda a funkafied, astroglide, potential germ junk breeding ground kinda environ. Mama’s cooking your burger 7 feet away from the tail pipes of SMB. Not their fault, it’s just an old and well, cruddy edifice. No one comes for Irv any more…He’s left the building. There is no Irv Hong. And even at 5k a month, they are getting ripped off for that space. The are nice folk who deserve better…as do we! Here’s hoping peoples inside City Hall and out help the Hongs find a fresh, new, clean location to create their happy face burgers at. Then fix the place up, set a rat trap and create something new. I mean right now when ya think Irv’s, handi wipes and Clorox are often a tenth of a second behind in your head after you say I’ll have fries with that.

  10. AustinWed, Jun 19, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Standard Oil? It’s so evil I actually did a spit-take and got coffee on my keyboard. It’s like the plot of a movie where Irv’s pulls it off in the final reel while Joe Cocker’s “Love Lift Us Up” plays. Though, I think in real life, evil wins a lot. Totally sucks.

  11. floresWed, Jun 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

    MarkD322- What your wrote is exactly what was written in the article. You gave us no new information. What drama are you talking about? I did not get drama out of the story. Take a chill pill.

  12. AustinThu, Jun 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I think Mark D322 is simply trying to hijack the piece and throw a little spam on it in order to draw readers to a competing publication. I use “competing” in the most charitable way.

  13. radnerdThu, Jun 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    FOODTRUCK!!!

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