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The Founder of LA Institution Dino’s Chicken and Burgers Has Died

Demetrios K. Pantazis ran the local chain for nearly 50 years

Demetrios K. Pantazis, right, with team members
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.

Demetrios K. Pantazis, founder of popular local chain Dino’s Chicken and Burgers, has died. The death was reported on the company’s own social media channels just yesterday.

Pantazis founded Dino’s with his brothers in 1968, opening up the first location along Pico Boulevard as a tribute to his father Konstantinos (aka Dino). Over the years the brothers have split off into different restaurant chain factions, opening up locations under the same name everywhere from Azusa to Pomona to Pico Rivera and beyond. The most popular remains the Pico Boulevard address, where fans line up daily for takeout orders of the now-famous fiery red chicken and fries.

That dish, the bright, smoky, almost glowing bird laid thick over a pile of french fries (or rice, for those who are into such things) has become something of a Los Angeles icon in its own right. Still remarkably inexpensive and served impossibly fast from a smoke-filled window station almost on the sidewalk, a plate of Dino’s has always been something truly special for Angelenos to enjoy.

In a Facebook note, family members for Pantazis had the below to say:

He spent almost 50 years serving each and every one of you and loved doing so. Dino's was our fathers life, his mission, his glory, and his legacy. Our family thanks each and every one of you for your loyalty and support throughout the years. There was nothing more he loved than to make people happy and to provide his customers with personal service and the best quality food possible. We will be continuing his works and we will do our best to live up to the standards he set forth for us.

Demetrios K. Pantazis will be missed.