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Koreatown’s Beloved Postmodern KFC Gets Torched in Weekend Blaze

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The building is expected to survive

KFC in Koreatown
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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.

One of Koreatown’s most famous buildings, the postmodern Kentucky Fried Chicken on Western Avenue, has been “heavily damaged” in a weekend kitchen fire.

According to news outlet San Fernando Valley Media, the blaze started inside the restaurant around 2 p.m. on Sunday, with more than 40 firefighters responding to the call within minutes. They quickly knocked down the fire, but not before the building suffered some pretty extensive damage. The fire apparently spread quickly through the walls of the place, though no injuries have been reported.

The building is perhaps one of the most easily identifiable restaurants in all of Los Angeles, with its swooping post-Googie fan blades and curved front edge. The whole thing loosely resembles a fried chicken bucket, with a hanging sign to one side and a flat patio halfway hidden behind. Per a 2011 story from LA Weekly, architect Jeffrey Daniels actually began designing the property for KFC in the late 1980s, but didn’t complete the build until the early 1990s. It has remained a popular place for fried chicken — despite lots of nearby competition — ever since.

Of course, kitchen fires are nothing knew to the restaurant industry, or Los Angeles in general. Just last week Bestia went down for an unspecified amount of time because of a fire, while big names like Jon & Vinny’s over the years have also been victims of small blazes that kept customers away for weeks at a time. This KFC location is expected to survive and reopen at a later date.