In Memory: Danny Munoz, Ed’s Coffee’s Charming Waiter with a Passion for L.A. County History

Danny Munoz receiving a proclamation from Mayor Lauren Meister at his retirement party (Photo by Manny Rodriguez)

The customers at Ed’s Coffee Shop knew Danny Munoz for his smile and engaging conversation. Ada Blumstein, the owner of the classic diner on Robertson Boulevard, knew Munoz for the 30 years he worked there as a waiter and came to see him as family. And those with a passion for the history of Los Angeles knew him as a man with a similar passion who served as president of the Associated Historical Societies of Los Angeles County and was a co-founder of the Echo Park Historical Society.

Munoz, 68, died on Wednesday after a struggle Sunday with what appears to have been an undiagnosed case of liver cancer. His death was announced to residents of the nearby West Hollywood West neighborhood in an email today from Manny Rodriguez of the local residents association.

Munoz leaves behind his husband, David Hiovich, who he met decades ago in the old Circus Disco in Hollywood, and his mother, Lucy Munoz, and brother Arthur.

Blumstein said that Munoz came to work at Ed’s when Hilldale Café, where he used to work, closed. “One of their customers told my mom that she should see if Danny would come to work with us,” Blumstein said. “He was wonderful. He was just the sweetest most mild-mannered person. I could get bitchy and pissy about a customer who was giving me problems. … It would roll right off of him. Nothing would fluster him.”

“I could rely on him for anything,” Blumstein said. “He was like my brother. People who didn’t know he was gay would think that we were married. Our joke was that David was his husband, and I was his mistress.”

Munoz retired from Ed’s in December of last year and Blumstein arranged a retirement party at which then-Mayor Lauren Meister presented him with a proclamation acknowledging his service. In an essay that he wrote for WEHOville, Carleton Cronin noted the celebration of Munoz’s service to Ed’s and its customers.

“I looked up Yelp and a couple of other guides to see what other folk had to say,” Cronin wrote. I found not a single grumpy comment, and almost all were of the five-star variety. In a world full of complaints I ask – how did that happen? The answer, of course, is a man like Danny who made his job large by embracing his customers, by anticipating their needs and fulfilling their requests. While some might feel that a waiter’s job was hardly one which could be enlarged, many others know that Danny was able to do that because he truly cared about

Cronin also noted Munoz’s other passion — history. “There’s more to Danny than most people know,” he wrote. “He is also Daniel T. Munoz, president of Associated Historical Societies of Los Angeles County. The motto (we say mission these days) is ‘Helping Los Angeles County historical societies coordinate, promote and thrive.’ Apparently, things are working well and the group includes over 20 principal L.A. County cities, including Los Angeles. Perhaps there will be a West Hollywood Historical Society one day to join the crowd. I also know that Danny maintains a well-stocked library.”

Blumstein said a small family ceremony will be held in Munoz’s honor on Sunday and that another celebration might occur at his home in Echo Park in August.

  1. Stunned at the loss of my cousin Daniel last week. He had been in and out of hospital with health issues. He had called my family recently to express his love for us. I took it as a sign that he was getting better. But actually it seems he was saying goodbye to us. On that Sunday I had a bad feeling. At the time, I did not know he was rushed to Good Samaritan.
    On Wednesday afternoon, I received the bad news and immediately took my family to his mother’s (my aunt) house. It was a very difficult situation. We then learned that he had an aggressive form of cancer. I am still coming to terms of the loss. But he suffers no more.

    I am pleased that he is being honored by Ed’s and can see how much he meant to others.

    Thank you all.

  2. Danny was the yoke in the egg at Ed’s. What a wonderful person. A quiet…but true West Hollywood legend in my book. Going to miss you ol’ friend.

  3. I am very sorry to hear of Danny’s passing. I knew him as a fellow student at Elysian
    Heights Elementary in Echo Park back in the 1950s. As a young boy, he was always
    smiling, very kind and mannerly. His work with the Echo Park Historical Society is deeply

  4. I was a faithful customer of Danny’s (and Jesus) at Hilldale Coffee Shop. So when they moved to Eds I marched down the street to make Eds my morning ritual. Extremely sorry he is gone.

  5. Goodbye my friend~ thank you for your generous heart and endless encouragement for my remodeling projects. A kindred soul is one of life’s greatest treasure.

  6. My heart just broke hearing of Danny’s passing. Danny served me breakfast and was my friend for thirty years. He always had a smile and a hug for me and I will miss him dearly.
    The world was a better place just having him in it. My thoughts and prayers are with David now for the great loss of Danny.

  7. Steve and I are absolutely devastated by this news. We just loved him and always felt it returned. Our kids grew up at Ed’s. This planet won’t be the same without him… 🙁

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