Irv’s Burgers, the 63-year-old West Hollywood hamburger stand sitting at the northeast corner of Santa Monica and Sweetzer, is asking for public support on its website as it faces an eviction notice from its owner and struggles to stay open.
The Hongs, a Korean-American family who invested their life’s savings in the business, are asking supporters to send an email to West Hollywood officials to stop their eviction by landlord Standard Oil Investment Management, which needs to bring the Irv’s site up to code in order to construct its neighboring cafe concept “Beach Nation.”
According to the Irv’s site:
The loss of Irv’s in West Hollywood would be another blow to our fragile Los Angeles culture. Destruction of this landmark would erase:
1) Another integral link to the Route 66 heritage
2) A classic post-World War II roadside stand
3) A genuine neighborhood eatery
4) The livelihood and future of a hardworking family
Irv’s owner Sonia Hong, who works with her brother and mother behind the counter, and is known for penning personal notes on nearly ever paper plate she serves, has made the stand a neighborhood favorite for more than a decade.
Recently, West Hollywood Councilmember Jeff Prang, who has been a long-time supporter of Irv’s Burgers, said that the owner was using “constructive eviction” to remove the Hongs. According to Prang, the Hongs had been told Steven Bohbot, vice president at Standard Oil Investment Management, that they would need to bring the roof and outdoor patio up to code if they wanted to stay.
“You’re not evicted, but I’m going to double your rent and make you pay for the roof and all these other things. It’s a historic business and it really should be the building owner’s responsibility,” Prang said.
When Beach Nation was approved, the city also required Standard Oil to bring the Irv’s site up to code because it is a single piece of property.
According to Prang, Bohbot, the “point person” in talks with the Hongs, has not returned calls from the city.
Hong has also 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.