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City Declines Pico Burger Stand Preservation Status, But It’s Being Saved Anyway

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One plan to keep a bit of roadside stand history

LA Burger on Pico
Courtesy Councilmember Paul Koretz
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.

It looks like good news after all for the future of LA Burger, the Pico Boulevard beef and bun stand that has existed on the same site since the 1960s. According to Curbed LA, plans have been filed with the LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee that will reincorporate the stand — and many of its Googie-style architectural features — into a new development slated for the property.

Unlike Norm’s on La Cienega, there were far fewer people truly rallying around the LA Burger site to try to keep it alive. Councilmember Paul Koretz had originally thrown his weight behind trying to preserve the integrity of the aging building, but when the LA City Council committee in charge of such designations declined to move forward with landmark status, that was that.

Except, maybe not. Developer Matt Nelson, the man behind the proposed six-story residential complex slated for the same address, has now come forward with some keen ideas on how to incorporate the stand into the look of his new building. Architecture firm Armet & Davis (they’re the ones who literally designed that Norm’s on La Cienega, as well as Johnnie’s Coffee Shop at Fairfax and Wilshire) built the sub-300-square-foot stand decades ago, and are now working with Wilson to incorporate some of the wavier Googie elements into the new tower.

As the rendering above shows, those new plans would also involve actually keeping a version of LA Burger alive, sort of as a walk-up operator doing business from one corner of the property. Indeed, Curbed LA reports that the walk-up restaurant would stay on as an eventual tenant when all is said and done — unlike Irv’s Burger in West Hollywood, which despite earning legacy status was still unceremoniously booted from its long-running location back in 2013.