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Last Brown Derby building for sale

The structure on Los Feliz Boulevard is a link to the golden age of Hollywood.

August 20, 2011|Roger Vincent

The last surviving Brown Derby restaurant building, a link to the golden age of Hollywood, is on the market for $10.6 million.

Now an Italian restaurant and bank, the domed structure at the intersection of Los Feliz Boulevard and Hillhurst Avenue was the fourth Brown Derby, a small restaurant chain popular with the entertainment industry.

The owners, a group led by Adler Realty Investments Inc., let go of plans they had in the mid-2000s to raze the building and build a dense residential and retail complex. Neighbors objected to the potential loss of the landmark and worried about increased traffic at the busy intersection.

"When the real estate market weakened, we found that it was much more cost effective for us to renovate the existing building and rent it in its current condition," Adler Realty President Michael Adler said. "I think the community likes this better as well."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, August 23, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Brown Derby: A caption in the Aug. 20 Business section accompanying an article about the listing of the last Brown Derby restaurant building for $10.6 million misspelled the name of Louise's Trattoria, a current tenant of the site, as Louisa's Trattoria.

The building has been altered numerous times since its inception in the 1920s as a Willard's chicken restaurant. In 1941, it was purchased by legendary director Cecil B. DeMille, who brought in the Brown Derby, incorporating fine dining and 24-hour car service in keeping with the drive-in restaurant fad of the era.

Famed gossip columnist Hedda Hopper found the moment fit to cover: "After the opening of the new Brown Derby on Los Feliz Boulevard, owner Bob Cobb piled all of the hundreds of floral greetings into a station wagon and sent them over to Children's Hospital," she wrote.

From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the location was home to Michael's Los Feliz restaurant. It went on to become the Derby Nightclub, a popular swing dancing spot, and Louise's Trattoria. Adler recently added a Chase Bank branch.

Negotiations are underway to add a second restaurant to the property on the Hillhurst side, according to Lee & Associates real estate brokerage.


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