Walk into the new location of Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood, and you'll probably see a lot of happy, very happy, faces. This would be because everyone - and I mean everyone - is equal parts happy and relieved to see owner Sonia Hong and her family in their new home, grilling up terrific burgers and doodling on the paper plates, just as they have done for over a decade.
Irv's Burgers originally opened 63 years ago on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer Avenue; the Hong family bought the business in 2000. Over the last few years, though, the folks who own the land on which the stand sits have attempted to oust the family so they could redevelop the property and turn it into something considerably more lucrative than a roadside eatery that serves pretty much the opposite of a Umami burger. The final showdown, as it were, came last summer when the current property owner, Standard Oil Investment Group, decided to sharply increase the stand's rent. A battle ensued; an eviction notice was served; negotiations took place. At the end of October, the Hongs moved out of the burger shack, taking the business's name with them.
As it turns out, they didn't go too too far. The new Irv's Burgers is still on Santa Monica Boulevard, just off of Laurel Avenue now, or about five blocks from its original location. It's no longer a stand; rather, it's in a space formerly occupied by Biscuit Cafe. And so some things have changed: you'll order at the front rather than through a window now, and your seating options will include any one of the several tables and chairs inside the shop in addition to two tables outside.
Other than those logistics, though, all else is the same. Sonia Hong, incessantly cheerful, will greet you and take your order, just like always. From the kitchen, her brother and her mom will wave hello, too, just like always. And just like always, your double cheeseburger will be delivered on a paper plate decorated with a picture that would not be out of place on an emoji keyboard, and that double cheeseburger will taste like the double cheeseburger of a childhood, idealized. Irv's may have moved, but all that wonderfully warm, fuzzy nostalgia? Remains.
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