Like so many businesses throughout Los Angeles, Taix French Restaurant is in danger. But this was the case long before Covid-19 due to upcoming developments on and around the L.A. cultural treasure’s locale. In response, a group known as the Silver Lake Heritage Trust (a non-profit seeking to preserve the architectural, historical and cultural diversity of Silver Lake, Echo Park and Elysian Valley) created “Friends of Taix,” a coalition comprised of longtime patrons and residents who want to see the beloved hangout preserve its original structure and ensure that “any new development by the owners [Holland Partner Group] respectfully incorporate into the existing building instead of their current plan of total demolition.”
With a Facebook group inviting fans to share Taix (pronounced “Tex”) memories as well as a GoFundMe drive to raise money to help pay for the venue’s Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination, the group has been mobilizing for several months and tomorrow, the process moves forward as the second and final Cultural Heritage Commission Zoom hearing takes place. According to the group’s latest email updates, the Office of Historic Resources has issued a positive staff report for the nomination and the Zoom will give those involved a chance to share their thoughts on why keeping the restaurant is important to them and the community. Participants are even invited to share a one minute personal story about Taix.
“Taix is a legacy business with a history as rich as all of Los Angeles, a family tradition that has endured in our City for almost 100 years,” says group organizer Carol Cetrone. “It is not only a legacy of French influence in Los Angeles, but also a place of community bonding, where neighbors celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, Dodger games or just coming together with friends for a martini and a warm, authentic meal. We are here to demonstrate the importance of place, of belonging, and to protect the fabric of this neighborhood from yet another unwanted and irrelevant project. At this point we know that these upscale units will be unaffordable, and will only result in the gentrification and displacement of our neighbors and local businesses. Taix is important, and cannot be replaced by ersatz cool and a new “paseo.”
Though the group has serious reservations about the development, they stress that tomorrow’s online event will be about positive discussion, not about protesting the development. They hope to highlight the historic importance of the building and invite those who feel the same to join. Info on how to support below, plus a look at a couple of heartfelt personal Taix stories from the FB group.
Those who can’t make the Zoom or call are encouraged to send letters of support (bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org) for the nomination to the following: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.
How do I begin to talk of my love of Taix and the Echo Park I relished late in the last century which continues to this day? Let me begin by saying I’m not a big fan of lingering at restaurants for a prolonged, lengthy time with loud, huge crowds. But the atmosphere of the old-fashioned non-pretentious Taix was both funky yet chic, and I will treasure those memories.
I had my first date with my now husband Dan West in the lounge. We had our debut LoveyDove album debut soiree there. Dan’s father, James Douglass West, a veteran screenwriter (Lassie, Wonderful World of Disney) frequented Taix with his wife Geraldine, a publicist for Eartha Kitt and for the famous El Rancho nightclub in Las Vegas for dozens of years.
Every time my mother Helaine would visit me from the East Coast, we would go to Taix, where Helaine and Bernard would innocently flirt and talk about old Hollywood. Taix provided a place for social gatherings (back when that was a hing!) both for family occasions and business celebrations. Gracious waiters (such as Bernard) made one feel so welcome and relaxed. The large room in the back always felt so intimate despite its grandiose decor and stiff vinyl booths. A vegetarian could be satiated with their wonderful salads and excellent soups, and the meat eater could savor their prime cuts and savory flavors.
The aforementioned lounge was utilized to great effect for local band nights and the occasional festival throw (I have to admit I never liked the idea of the swarms of crowds that would flock to my favorite local hangs, but I understood the necessity as for the economic advantages.)
In 2006, I was the first “kid on my block” to buy an all-electric scooter and I would have the most amazing rides down Echo Park Avenue, turning right on Sunset and a few blocks later, arrive at Taix, finding free parking for my beloved E-Road bike. Those were the days! One of these bike rides led me to my first meeting with my beloved Dan West. By that time, I had worked on some promotion for the electric scooter company and they had given me a second E-Road! Together Dan and I would roar down the avenue, wind at our backs, and enjoy a Salade Nicoise for lunch or an evening of camaraderie and drinks with our fellow music revelers.
Viva Taix! And boo hiss to the developers that constantly crush our joie de vivre delights. We need to protect and treasure our neighborhood landmarks and call out and halt the greedy developers who have no regard for what really matters in life.
~ Azalia Snail
A Real French Experience
I attended Hemet High School, which is about 100 miles (about 2 hours bus ride) due east of Taix, and in 1986 my French 2 teacher Mr. Taylor organized a field trip to dine at Taix. He was a fairly flamboyant figure who loved the French the way the Irish love their alcohol (I’m Irish). He talked about Taix like it was a gateway to a better world, one of culture and fine cuisine and epicurean delights.
Hemet is and was a retirement community with a distinct whiff of poverty, and for many of us this expedition was a big deal, not just a trip to the city or a trip to a restaurant. It was our first experience with “real” French, and at that point was the nicest restaurant many of us had ever dined in. The waitstaff allowed us to use our French and were very gracious. They treated us with true hospitality, the way perhaps it used to be, when a business valued its customers as guests and as friends.
The dozen or so of us high schoolers felt we had been given a taste of what waited for us as adults, and we finished off the experience with everyone trying the escargots. For high school kids in the 80s, escargot was pretty outrageous. I can’t say anyone particularly enjoyed the escargot but we viewed it as a right of passage. It was a wonderful experience.