French Market Is Closing (For Real)

The French Quarter's outdoor dining area
The French Quarter’s outdoor dining area

In a move lamented by older members of the local LGBT community, the French Quarter restaurant is finally closing.

The closing, originally scheduled for March to prepare for a renovation of the restaurant, now will occur on Sunday afternoon.

Located at 7985 Santa Monica Blvd. at North Laurel, the restaurant has long been a popular weekend brunch place and offers relatively inexpensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. It also has an outdoor dining area facing Santa Monica. And, rare for West Hollywood, it offers free parking in a lot next door.

The French Quarter dominates the French Market, a complex of shops whose inhabitants moved out this Spring as the place was being renovated. It is famed in LGBT circles as a gathering place for members of the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles (MECLA), a political action committee in the 1970s that raised money to support gay-friendly candidates. It also is where Jerry Brown in 1991 met with gay activists to solicit their support for his candidacy for president. When news of the renovation became known in March, Rick Castro, in a posting on his blog, announced “FRENCH MARKET PLACE- THE END OF GAY.” Castro is owner of Antebellum Gallery in Hollywood, which bills itself as the only fetish art gallery in the United States. The French Quarter also has long been a gathering place for members of the LGBT recovery community.

The French Market was opened by Arthur Simm in 1974, 10 years before West Hollywood’s incorporation as a city. His grandsons Chris and Mike own the Simms Restaurant Group. It owns restaurants such as Simmzy’s and Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach.

In an interview in February with WEHOville, Marc Ittah, the business partner of Michael Faze, who bought the French Market in 2011, said the restaurant would be reopened after the remodeling. But rumors continue to circulate that Faze intends to demolish the building and convert the property to another use. Ittah did not return calls from WEHOville for comment.

0 0 vote
Article Rating

46 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sean Moran
4 years ago

I always loved the place…the summer salad como- or the half chicken plate…..many years were spent here with henry Sutton and paul Ainsley……and a slew of us- dressed as Nuns- after a performance of NUNSINGULAR SENSATION singing from the upper seating area….sad to see it go

Rene Napoli
5 years ago

Great memories with friends.

terry selb
terry selb
5 years ago

I always considered t an overpriced restaurant with sub-pat food

Disco Dan
Disco Dan
5 years ago

It really annoys me when people lament the closing of this establishment and then in the same post, admit they hadn’t eaten there in years. News Flash: As far as I know, the reason they closed was due to a lack of business. I did my part to patronize it as often as possible and brought people along on many occasions. But I saw, as the years passed, that business was declining. Ergo, this tragedy.

Geoff
Geoff
5 years ago

Very sad to find this out. I drove by last night for the first time in awhile and saw it completely shuttered. I hadn’t eaten there in a few years but it was a place I always remembered fondly. Such a unique space. I noticed the DBA bar/club next door is also closed. If Baby Blues BBQ isn’t doing well I wouldn’t be surprised if they tear down the entire row to build more condos or another strip shopping center.

Scott Schumacher
5 years ago

I agree with Ric. Thirty years ago Weho was a very different city. Much more laid back and friendly.

fine7760e dunn
5 years ago

Lyndia
Thriftymart and Thrifty Drug Store were two separate chains. In addition Thriftymart was sold out to Smart & Final not the other way around. I remember Thriftymart and a family member worked for Thrifty Drug Store which had a very nice store and their General Offices at La Brea and Rodeo Rd. The building is typical design used by Safeway for many years. While I don’t remember when it was a Safeway I do remember when the building housing the Black Cat Bar was Safeway.

Ric Shaffran
Ric Shaffran
5 years ago

I remember West Hollywood 30+ years ago. Maybe a little less polished and glitzy, but a real community and one that offered a myriad of stores, restaurants and clubs for LGBT (well, mostly G in those days) folks who weren’t rich or powerful, just gay guys who needed a place to be themselves and socialize. I remember Halloween when it wasn’t a packaged event run by the city (it was lots of fun and very free form) and I remember the Pride parade and festival when it’s prices hadn’t shot up like Disneyland. I’m not just remembering a fantasy of… Read more »

Ric Shaffran
Ric Shaffran
5 years ago

It’s sad that the French Market will be demolished (I doubt very seriously that there is actually any question about it). Yet another of LA’s historic buildings – AND the LGBT community’s historic buildings of which there are almost none lest – will be gone. And in the unlikely event it is not demolished, it will be turned into another expensive, “hip” Weho eatery.

Lyndia
5 years ago

Thank you, everyone, for providing some of the gay history of this building. It was constructed in 1929 as a Fizsimmons Market in the latest Art Deco style. Fitzsimmons was sold to Smart & Final, and this market was sold to a chain that became Thriftymart. Thriftymart was a major grocery chain here in the 1950’s. They decided to concentrate on drugs & sundries instead of food in the late 1960’s. They ran the drug store on the corner of Fairfax and Sunset as Thrifty’s Drugstore until they were bought out. That drugstore still sells Foremost ice cream, which was… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
5 years ago

It was sad standing next to the man while he put the ‘closed’ sign on the door.. the lady patron eating at the counter started to cry.. so i choked up.. and then the cashier.. it was a point of inflection where yesterday is gone and tomorrow is one more glass building…
I’m putting together a short memory article about YOUR thoughts and memories of French Market, 50 words or less.. please send to larry@ymla.com– include a photo if available.

Sunnie
Sunnie
5 years ago

As an tenant, evicted after our 9 year tenancy, I feel we were mislead when being told we could come back after the renovations…… it is sad… it is a landmark for many… nothing else like it… so very much history…..