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West Hollywood’s Beloved Irv’s Burgers Mounts Comeback With Industry Backers


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Irv’s Burgers is back in business — almost.

The beloved burger stand, set to open any day now, returns to the West Hollywood fast-food scene (7998 Santa Monica Blvd.) thanks to backing by Off the Menu founder Lawrence Longo, investments from industry heavyweights like WME talent agent and partner Brad Slater and a roster of celebrities that are being kept under wraps for the time being.

Sonia Hong, the longtime face of the business who owned and operated it since 2000 alongside family members like her brother and mother, is also back, working the counter and doodling on plates with her signature, “Just for you.”

Irv’s had been shuttered since 2018 after years of drama with landlords and many believed it to be gone for good. That was, until, real estate titan Jay Luchs placed a call to Longo tipping him off to an available space he thought would be perfect for one of Longo’s restaurant concepts. Longo immediately thought of Hong and how he could help bring Irv’s Burger back but says she opted for a deal that would allow her to work at Irv’s without the responsibility of operating it.

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Sonia Hong and Lawrence Longo, business partners on the new venture, pose outside the shop during the tastemaker event in June 2022.

Courtesy of Irv’s Burgers/Wonho Frank Lee

“She gave me the reins to bring Irv’s back and do it in the best way possible that incorporates the history,” he explains of the business that dates back to 1946 when it was first opened (under a different name) and run for years by Irv Gendis until the Hong family assumed control. “What I thought would initially be a loan to get this burger stand back ended up being a project that is super exciting and amazing to be a part of. It keeps growing and growing and there are endless opportunities and love for Irv’s.”

Longo, who recruited burger lovers and L.A. natives like Slater, is a restaurant insider and food entrepreneur who serves as owner and partner of Prince Street Pizza and as a silent investor in Burgers Never Say Die and Tacos 1986. His Off the Menu is described as a food discovery, content and experience platform that spans apps and pop-ups to events and delivery experiences. The company has created and produced events like The Burger Showdown, The Wing Showdown and America’s Sweetest that have featured stars as Matthew McConaughey, Courteney Cox, Dwayne Wade, Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Olsen, Jason Sudeikis and others.

To tease the forthcoming revival, the team held a one-day pop-up on National Burger Day on May 28 that was attended by Slater and some of his star clients including Dwayne Johnson and Addison Rae. The official opening is still pending as they wait final approval from the city but once they get the greenlight, Longo insists this is just the beginning of a bright future for Irv’s and Hong.

“We should never have let it go away,” he says. “Irv’s Burgers is one of the most resilient companies I’ve ever seen and that’s because there’s a huge community and fan base behind this burger. There are so many supporters and loyalists of Sonia Hong and getting her back behind the burger stand doing what she does best — doodling on plates and providing the best hospitality — couldn’t be better.”

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The iconic burger business, Irv’s Burgers, is set to reopen in West Hollywood in June 2022.

Courtesy of Irv’s Burgers/Wonho Frank Lee

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Irv’s Burgers has a cookie-laced milkshake!

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Addison Rae attends a tastemaker celebration at Irv’s Burgers in West Hollywood in June 2022.

Courtesy of Irv’s Burgers/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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