Coach John Wooden was known for leading UCLA men’s basketball to 10 national titles, and an untouchable 88-game winning streak. The legendary coach’s favorite restaurant is now trying to pull out an upset against the current pandemic, hoping a crowdsourcing campaign will help keep their doors open.

VIP’s Cafe in Tarzana was Coach Wooden’s go-to, before his passing in 2010. The little mom & pop even commemorated Wooden’s favorite booth in his honor. Now, a GoFundMe campaign is looking to raise $20,000 in an effort to save the cafe. 

Like several L.A. restaurants, VIP’s closed its doors after the business lockdown orders took effect in March. While the restaurant reopened its doors on May 11, owners Paul and Lucy Ma have had trouble generating enough revenue to pay  its staff members and outstanding rent.

Because of the restaurant’s struggles, San Fernando Valley resident Ryan Hagen started the GoFundMe campaign, which has already raised over $8,000 in a five-day span. 

Since the fundraiser’s launch, Wooden’s children joined in and donated $1,000 to the campaign, while current UCLA men’s basketball head coach Mick Cronin donated $2,500 toward the efforts.

They are now asking UCLA fans, and Los Angeles residents for help in reaching their goal to save Wooden’s old favorite restaurant.

The cafe first opened its doors in 1997 and has become a staple in Tarzana’s food scene, gaining patronage from other notable celebrities such as Tony Hawk and Dave Grohl.

VIP’s Cafe, 18345 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana

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