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Henry's Tacos gets two-week reprieve

A social media campaign and celebrity support help keep the 51-year-old business going until Jan. 10 in hopes of securing a buyer.

December 25, 2012|By Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times
  • Ethan Gruska, left, and Alex Fischel eat at Henry's Tacos. The stand has gotten a two-week reprieve.
Ethan Gruska, left, and Alex Fischel eat at Henry's Tacos. The stand… (Katie Falkenberg, Los Angeles…)

Call it a Christmas miracle — Henry's Tacos in Studio City will stay open two more weeks, according to the restaurant's owner.

Janis Hood said she is trying to work out a deal between her landlord and a prospective buyer of the taco stand that her grandfather opened 51 years ago at Tujunga Avenue and Moorpark Street.

"That's my miracle, I'm going to live to see the first of the year," Hood said. "I'm very hopeful that a deal can be reached."

She said she will run the business until Jan. 10. Hood credited the overwhelming support of Henry's fans and media coverage for keeping a potential deal alive.

In recent weeks, a Web campaign has popped up on Facebook and Twitter, and celebrities such as Elijah Wood and "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul joined a legion of Henry's customers on a rainy Sunday afternoon to eat tacos and voice their support. More than 5,800 people have signed an online petition to save the restaurant and loyal patrons have posted video testimonials online.

After the news of the two-week extension was posted on Facebook this weekend, fans were jubilant. One commented: "There is a Santa — Merry Christmas." Another wrote: "Long live the taco!"

The battle focuses in part on whether Henry's is more than a taco stand — whether it's actually a piece of history worthy of official preservation.

The possible closure of Henry's Tacos is the result of yearlong dispute that started when Hood applied for a historical monument designation for the stand last year. Hood said her landlord increased her rent 50% and has refused to renew her lease since last December.

Hood believes the landlord, Beverly Hills businessman Mehran Ebrahimpour, is upset because a historical designation would put land-use restrictions on the property. Los Angeles' Cultural Heritage Commission unanimously approved Henry's as a historical landmark last year, but the city's Planning and Land Use Management Committee postponed a vote on it earlier this year until Hood's lease was renewed.

Ebrahimpour could not be reached for comment Monday and his lawyer declined to comment.

Hood had lined up several prospective buyers earlier this year, but they were turned down by the landlord, she said.

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