New Owner of Norms Restaurant Secures Permit to Demolish It

Norm's Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard
Norms Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard
The new owner of Norm’s Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, one of the few remaining examples in the West Hollywood area of Googie architecture, has received a permit to demolish it.

The Los Angeles Conservancy alerted its members to the permit with a posting on its website today. The new owner of Norms, which includes 18 restaurants in Southern California, is Jim Balis. Balis, who is based in Idaho, is CEO of Restaurant Management Group, which bills itself as a firm devoted to restructuring existing restaurant businesses.

Balis purchased Norms last year from the Roybark family. Norm Roybark, a Los Angeles native, opened the first Norms in 1949 near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Vine.

The Norms at 470 N. La Cienega, just south of Melrose, was designed by architects Louis Armet and Eldon Davis and opened in 1957. The L.A. Conservancy says “Norms La Cienega is an exuberant example of the California coffee shop type and an expressive Googie masterwork. ”

The eccentric Googie style takes its name from a coffee shop called Googie that was at the intersection of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards in the 1950s. Today, in addition to Norms, a major example of the Googie style is Mel’s Diner at 8585 Sunset Blvd. just west of Londonderry Place in West Hollywood.

The L.A. Cultural Heritage Commission is set to meet tomorrow and consider whether to recommend tbat Norms by designated a historic/cultural monument. According to the L.A. Conservancy, such a designation would prevent Balis from demolishing the building without securing the permission of the Los Angeles City Council.

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Maria Garcia
Maria Garcia
3 years ago

I had never been to Norms in Riverside Ca, until December of 2016 . My visit was horrible to say the least. I have tried on several occasions to speak to someone in corporate office about the horrible customers service they have and to this day I’m still waiting for a call back.

luca d
luca d
5 years ago

love norms, love the staff; alfonso, megaly, ruthie, jack, rita, yoesi, sandy…love love sandy, tina, what a sweetie, and all the other wonderful people that make a norm’s visit such a pleasure.
not sure how this plays out, but tell these folks how you feel, and wish them well if the no matter how this scenerio plays out.
there is a great jerry seinfeld-carl reiner episode of ‘comedians in cars getting coffee’, and they are sitting at norms. and ruthie is the waitress.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
5 years ago

TO HELP SAVE NORMS, please contact City Council member Paul Koretz (District 5) and ask him to support the Historic-Cultural Monument nomination for Norms La Cienega Coffee Shop! PLEASE SHARE!

City Councilmember Paul Koretz
200 North Spring Street, Suite 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-473-7005
Email: paul.koretz@lacity.org

Max Eliot
Max Eliot
5 years ago

ambiguousbodywork: Your memories are my memories…I had just landed here from the East Coast at 19….The Oddessy was my first dance club and Norms the first stop after…Thanks for the comment. So many memories, so many friends gone.

ambiguousbodywork
5 years ago
Reply to  Max Eliot

Yes, indeed Max. So many memories. We are much older now and have plenty of time to form a perspective to that magical time before the storm and the national epidemic of AIDS. I remember vividly an older man I knew in 1981 telling me about this new strange disease doctors were baffled about. My response was yes but that it like one in a million changes a person would get that. He said no you watch and he was right. As a younger person a few years seems an eternity away. I would say by 1986 people I knew… Read more »

Max Eliot
Max Eliot
5 years ago

Wow…now that is a shocker. It seems these big developers have taken over West Hollywood. Just how rich our the council members, mayor these days…seems to me just the city is being transformed literally overnight. Sad is all that comes to mind….right behind Greed.

Sean Moran
5 years ago

NOOOOOOOO…once again a Holywood landmark just gone- I remember a hotel- onve known froa white baby gtand in every room- on Hollywood Blvd demolished for a godawful cinerma ( went defunct) and now is a series of horrid little shops- SHAME ON YOU LOS ANGELES.

Lynn
Lynn
5 years ago

In order for the LA Conservancy to fulfill the full merits of its mission a plan for proactive participation by neighborhoods and larger communities should be clear and available. Individuals and groups must have antennae tuned in regarding significant and admired structures, gather pertinent information and nominate them. It is not a hard task. For communities to languish in a false sense of security because they have been awarded a high grade simply by establishing a Historic Preservation or Landmark Ordinance coupled with a commission is half the job. The public can be inspired, guided and assisted by the. conservancy… Read more »

ambiguousbodywork
5 years ago

Please don’t allow this to happen. I have fond memories of going to this “Norms” coffee shop/restaurant during the 80’s when we all went to the “Oddessy ” night club on Beverly & LaCienega. This was before the Beverly center was built. We would all go to “Norms” for french toast or pancakes after the “Oddessy closed. Such fond memories of my pals. Most sadly past away due to a new disease called AIDS. (circa1981) Norms hold a special memories for a lot of folks.

WEHO Jag
WEHO Jag
5 years ago

Jim Ballis is a Mormon. He is anti-gay and gave money against gay marriage. He is another out of state developer who has bought off all of the corrupt politicians in Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

Bobby Trendy
5 years ago

I love Norms!!!! they need anew bathroom though!

jimmypalmieri
jimmypalmieri
5 years ago

sad. bye norms.

Larry Block
5 years ago

Norm’s is an institution… sayonara to the most reasonable diner around town.. You can find me there often after a commission or council meeting and inevitably you will see Marcy Norton (a daily customer) laughing away and winning tons of stuffed animals for kids in need, while Rita Norton, alias.. ‘Rita recommends’ hosts the community table. — featuring Norman Chramoff, Esther Baum, and my regulars Tony Rizzo, Jim Hieronymus and Chris Garcia…Victor Mizrahi…! Marcy you are going to have to do the cooking from now on!