Irv's Burgers

Patrons of Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood are trying to save it, too.

Los Angeles Sentimental
Posted November 11, 2004

One of the most endearing traits of longtime city dwellers is their tendency to engage in irrational sentimentality. How else to explain Los Angeles residents' feelings about walk-up hamburger stands? Background: After World War II, returning veterans created a unique Southern California institution, the hamburger stand. These were tiny buildings, sometimes made of metal scavenged from old airplanes and squeezed onto odd slivers of land, where ex-sergeants and former warrant officers fried up specialty hamburgers for workers at nearby factories and offices. No parking lots were needed, since the customers walked up for lunch. Many weren't even enclosed, since the climate was mild, "You throw (the stand) together, hook up the gas and water and you're in business," said Gerald Panter, who's writing a book about L.A.'s hamburger stands titled "Eating on the Run." "Eventually, the little stands would expand. The owner would extend the roof and add a table or two and chairs. Then they'd extend the stand a little more to give themselves storage room." Alas, the old-style hamburger stand is fast disappearing. Panter estimates that a third of the 200 places he has photographed in the past four years have gone out of business. Reason: Other businesses, particularly gourmet coffee shops, are muscling their way onto these tiny parcels. Fans of the hamburger stands have organized and saved a few of the most famous ones, like Jay's Jayburgers on Santa Monica Boulevard (famous for its chili burger). Patrons of Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood are trying to save it, too. They're protesting loudly against plans to replace their Irv's with a Peet's Coffee and Tea shop. "(Irv's) has such a history," said one of its patrons. "Jim Morrison of the Doors and Janis Joplin loved the place." Want more history? A photo shot at Irv's was part of a Linda Ronstadt album cover, he added.


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

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