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Underground Backyard Hit Burgers Never Say Die Has Been Shut Down

Don’t worry, a brick-and-mortar may not be far off

Burgers Never Say Die
Clay Larsen
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.

Backyard beef and bun sensation Burgers Never Say Die is no more, at least in its current secretive driveway setup. As of yesterday, the party is over, with the team telling Eater they’ll need to find a new home for their burger operation.

Contrary to some social media reports, Burgers Never Say Die was not shut down by the health department or police (which was the case with Avenue 26 Tacos late last year). Rather, things suddenly came to a head with the community after weeks of increased foot traffic and a growing presence of burger fans waiting in hours-long lines. Shawn, the owner and operator of Burgers Never Say Die, reportedly went person to person through the crowd, refunding money and informing everyone that the day was finished.

As for what’s next, it’s hard to say. Shawn and the crew may decide to take their illegal backyard act on the road for a time, popping up in some new location, or focus their efforts on securing a space for a brick-and-mortar restaurant. They’re apparently close to locking in the latter, ideally within a few miles of their current East Hollywood address.

Quieter early days in the driveway at Burgers Never Say Die
Clay Larsen

The shutter of the first iteration of Burgers Never Say Die only adds fuel to the fire surrounding Los Angeles’s street food legalization efforts. Other newish spots, like Dave’s Hot Chicken, have already left their parking-lot setups behind in favor of strip-mall restaurant spaces, while Burt Bakman, of Trudy’s Underground Barbecue, is tantalizingly close to turning on the lights at his upcoming West Third Street restaurant Slab. Meanwhile, Los Angeles (both the city and county) remains without a framework for longstanding street food vendors — many of which don’t have the kind of social media presence and influence to seamlessly transition into a brick-and-mortar location — to serve their food on the street legally.