Irv's Burgers

The venerable Irv’s Burgers has been in existence for nearly 55 years, making it one of the longest continually operating businesses in West Hollywood. Located cater-corner from City Hall, the stand is popular with city employees, neighborhood locals, and people from all walks of life (especially IN Los Angeles employees). Co-owner Sonia Hong is one of those rare business owners: She’s always smiling, constantly singing, knows most of her customers by name (as well as having their regular orders memorized), and always draws a little happy message on all the plates and to-go orger bags. “I try to make it like a family,” she says. “Even though people are having a bad day, by drawing a little cartoon on the bag, it makes them happy. They may be angry about what’s happened at work, so I want them to leave happy. I like what I’m doing, and if you enjoy what you’re doing, you can be like that too.” In her short five years owning Irv’s, Sonia has become a local institution.

All the happiness Sonia, her brother Sean, and her mother Mama bring to the neighborhood is threatened, as the property owner—ironically the original Irv—has plans to demolish the stand to make room to develop the space and the vacant lot next door into a Peet’s Coffee and Tea.

Recently, Sonia’s lease ran out on her stand, and Irv was letting her stay on a month-tomonth basis. In an effort to sway the powers that be to save Irv’s, Sonia had a petition out at her business, which she encouraged her patrons to sign. After collecting over 1,400 signatures, Sonia says Irv told her to remove the petitions or face a 30-day eviction notice. “Originally, they said they were going to remodel the back and we’d sign a new lease, but that changed,”

Sonia says. “Then they gave us 30-days notice after we started this campaign to try to save our business. I don’t want to make him angry, so we pulled the petitions. We had a hearing at City hall on Oct. 6, but it didn’t go well. The developer doesn’t want to change their plans. “ Sonia doesn’t know what she’ll do if she loses the stand. “It’d be hard to start over again,” she says. “This place is a landmark— it’s been around for almost 55 years. I’d hate to see them tear it down.”

If you’d like to help save Irv’s, write to Peet’s Coffee & Tea, PO Box 12509, Berkeley, Ca. 94712.


IRV'S BURGERS Since 1950
7998 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90046

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