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Proud Bird to remain open for at least another year

The historic restaurant near LAX will remain open after its owner secured a temporary new lease from Los Angeles World Airports.

December 12, 2013|By Ralph Vartabedian
  • Aviation memorabilia at Proud Bird includes a display on the exploits of aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
Aviation memorabilia at Proud Bird includes a display on the exploits of… (Luis Sinco, Los Angeles…)

The Proud Bird, the historic restaurant at LAX that has been a hangout for some of the nation's biggest aviation pioneers, will remain open for at least another year after its owner was able to secure a temporary new lease from Los Angeles World Airports.

John Tallichet had announced the restaurant would close last month after an unsuccessful two-year effort to negotiate a new long-term lease. He had said he remained hopeful a last-minute deal could save the restaurant opened by his father, a bomber pilot during World War II.

After an outpouring of community support, Tallichet pledged to keep the Proud Bird open until late December. On Thursday evening, he announced he had a deal with the airport to keep the property open for at least one more year while he negotiated a long-term lease.

The restaurant has a collection of 20 historic aircraft and hundreds of photographs that document the long history of aerospace in Southern California.

Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh and Neil Armstrong are among the figures from aviation and aerospace who have sat in the bar and restaurant and watched planes land at Los Angeles International Airport.

The Proud Bird has long been one of the leading gathering places for the engineers, production workers and aviators of the L.A. aerospace industry, which is clustered around LAX. Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman all have major factories, laboratories and offices nearby.

The airport has offered some possible solutions, and Tallichet said he is continuing to explore ways to reduce the costs of a new lease. Originally, the airport wanted to boost the annual rent from $200,000 to $500,000, citing a federal law that requires it to charge market-based rent.

The new deal will reduce that increase to some extent, but Tallichet said he still expects to lose money in the short term. If he can get a long-term lease, Tallichet has said, he intends to invest $1 million in upgrades to the property.

ralph.vartabedian@latimes.com

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