The first-ever Islands Restaurant in West Los Angeles is set to close soon. Eater has confirmed that the Hawaiian-themed Pico Boulevard burger and drinks spot will shutter sometime this fall.
Though unassuming from the outside, this Islands location helped to spawn a multi-million dollar enterprise that now spans multiple states and dozens of locations. The company is still run by founder and CEO Tony DeGrazier, and the original location features prominently on Islands’ own website.
Word from management is that the owner of the building has decided to raise the rents, and DeGrazier made the decision in response to simply shutter his first-ever Islands restaurant. A call to the corporate headquarters in Carlsbad confirmed the news, with a rep there calling it a “leasing issue,” and noting a closure sometime in October. They did add that Islands is actively looking to land a new location somewhere nearby.
The loss of the first-ever Islands points to the sky-high rents and tough restaurant market that operators still face across all of Southern California, but it also shows just how influential this region has been in creating many of the fast food and sit-down chain restaurants that America has come to know and love. The first-ever Johnny Rockets location shuttered just a few years back along Melrose (and is now becoming a tongue-in-cheek pop-up space), while the flagship Marie Callender’s on Wilshire recently closed following 40 years of service. Soon Islands will join them, having been in operation at the same Pico Boulevard location for 36 years.