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An Original LA Burger Stand Starts “Cry For Help” Fundraising Campaign [Update]

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Irv’s Burgers tries to plot a new path forward

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Irv’s Burgers
Irv’s Burgers
Monica L./Yelp
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.

Update: Irv’s seems to have pulled the GoFundMe page, and removed their mention of it on social media.

A new fundraising page has been set up for the family behind Irv’s Burgers, as the long-running former stand plots a path towards a new generation. A previous GoFundMe page operating under the title “Save Irv’s Burgers!” popped up at the end of last week, and is asking some $50,000 to aid in a soft transition to a new owner beyond the beloved Hong family.

The new Irv’s Burgers fundraising campaign says that the restaurant’s five year lease has run up and they are back to operating month-to-month, and are constantly in fear of having to shut down or relocate for the second time in a decade. The $50,000 would be used to entice a new owner to move in and take over the restaurant, and to help Sonia and Mama Soon Hong to retire once new ownership is in place. On Instagram, the GoFundMe campaign is described as “a cry for help.”

Irv’s has been a staple Route 66 burger stand since 1946 — a full two years before the first-ever In-N-Out opened well to the east. The restaurant was originally known as Queenies’ Burgers before owner Irv Gendis bought the place in 1970, running the joint for 30 years before Sonia, Mama Soon, and Sean Hong bought the business back in 2000. Last year Sean Hong died from complications following a stroke, and the family managed to raise over $11,000 to help offset his funeral costs.

The Clash at the original Irv’s Burgers location
Yelp/Dutch M.

This isn’t the first time the Hong family has reached out to the community for assistance. In 2013 the family faced eviction from its original stand after a new lease could not be agreed on with the landlords, forcing the family into a contentious battle that saw legions of fans pitch in their support and the city of West Hollywood to ultimately designate the stand a landmark to be preserved. That year, the family secured thousands of dollars towards relocation by way of a different crowdfunding platform.

The new Irv’s Burgers location opened just up the street in 2014, while the first stand continues to be delicately redeveloped into a future project known as Conservatory.

Irv’s Burgers. 7998 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA.