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The Future of Norm's Is in the Hands of the World's Bro-iest Developer

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The popular La Cienega landmark may not survive.

The Googie architecture of a Norm’s diner sign.
Norm's on La Cienega
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Mark your calendars for March 19. That’s the day the Cultural Heritage Commission will decide the fate of Norm’s on La Cienega. Because, as LA Magazine is now reporting, if the designation to preserve the iconic Googie structure doesn’t go through, the whole thing is basically toast.

Want to point fingers at some faceless corporation that has evil plans to gut the beautiful diner? No need! You can point them directly at a person: Jason Illoulian, CEO of Faring Capital. He’s the H.D.I.C. (that’s Head Douchenozzle In Charge) responsible for the land purchase underneath the Norm’s, and the one spouting off in bro-tastic language about what the city (and you specifically) really wants.

The plan is to bulldoze the Norm’s parking lot

Per Illoulian’s conversation with LA Mag, the plan is to bulldoze the Norm’s parking lot and replace it with a concept so forward-thinking, so out-of-the-box, that you’d almost want to stand up and cheer: a "community of shops." Yep. The most well-known Googie landmark in Los Angeles is (potentially) making way for… some shops.

Using big-person words like "curate" and "authentic," Illoulian shakily tries to lay out his and Faring Capital’s vision for the site, which aims to recreate an Abbot Kinney (you know, a neighborhood that has tried to hold onto its charm) or a Brentwood Country Mart. He further goes on to describe the sign at Norm’s as "just like fucking awesome."

And if you feel like being personally offended, there’s this nugget, about who actually likes diners and chooses to spend their own money at the Norm’s on La Cienega: "There is a hipster component. Some kind of a new elite are looking at Norm’s as an iconic reference without a hint of nostalgia. They’ve never been there but it’s cool on some aesthetic scale." Oh, and one more: "The 50,000 responses the Conservancy [got] are not from the working class public. You can be assured of that."

Have a notion to tell Faring Capital CEO Jason Illoulian that he’s absolutely right, and that no one could possibly love things that have aged more than five years, and that his astute observation about Norm’s only ever being populated by hipsters and people with old Minolta cameras taking artsy photos is spot on? You can do so here. Just try to keep it cordial.

Norm's Restaurant

470 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048 (323) 655-0167 Visit Website