When last we left the Irv's Burgers saga way back in June, the West Hollywood burger shack run by Sonia Hong was facing eviction at the hands of their pesky landlords, who were looking to double the rent on the space. Well, for a time, it seemed that Hong might be able to stick around at her location on the corner of Sweetzer and Santa Monica Blvd., given the site's protected historical status by the city. A 30-day vacate notice came and went, meaning — for a time — the Irv's crew could get back to doing what they loved most: flipping burgers and drawing adorable messages on paper plates.
Now, the end has come — for real this time. After coming to an agreement with the family that owns the property, the Hongs must officially close up their Route 66 burger operation as of Oct. 30.
So what does that mean for the future of Irv's Burgers, one of the best old school burger stands in all of Los Angeles? And — if you're so inclined — how can you help?
Thankfully, the Hongs were able to keep the “Irv's Burgers” name as part of the final agreement to vacate the premises, which means they can legally set up anywhere else they'd like, under the same name as always. Unfortunately, that sort of thing is extremely expensive, even for businesses as beloved as Irv's.
That's where longtime Irv's fan Dave White comes in. He recently approached Sonia Hong about setting up an Indiegogo campaign, where folks could donate online to help in the relocation efforts. “They were against it at first,” says White via email, “They felt like it was asking people for too much.” But White persisted, asking the Hongs simply to “let the people who love you help you.”
With the Indiegogo campaign launched at the site SaveIrvsBurgers.com, White, Aaron Harvey and a few other friends are hoping to defray as much as $55,000 of the Hongs' costs of moving from the burger shack from its 13-year home to a new facility.
This being an online fundraising platform, there are award levels for anyone hoping to dish out a little cash to save the burgers we all love. Ranging from personalized thank-you cards to having a sandwich officially named after you, the Indiegogo award levels are just as cheeky and fun as Sonia Hong's personalized paper plate drawings. There are VIP tables available and plaques for personalized chairs wherever the Hongs set up shop next, although you'll have to dish out some real money to get anything other than a combo meal on your next visit.
Once the Hongs vacate the Santa Monica Blvd. location Oct. 30, the family that owns the land plans to zone the space for two different restaurants, one presumed to be a beachy cafe that updates the patio feel of the current Irv's.
What happens next to Irv's name and its legacy is ultimately up to the Hong family, but if you're up for tossing a little money their way, you could have a hand in helping them get to that next stage a little faster.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Farley Elliott writes about food, drink and entertainment at OverOverUnder.com.