photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee
If you’ve been in LA long enough and take your burgers seriously, chances are you know about Irv’s. The classic roadside burger spot has cycled through a couple of owners and locations on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood since first opening in 1946. For the past couple of decades, Irv’s was helmed by the Hong family, and matriarch Sonia Hong charmed the neighborhood not just with simple and delicious burgers, but also with personalized caricatures along with every order. She would even scrawl the phrase “just for you!” in Sharpie next to your doodle. So it was devastating in 2018 when Irv’s closed due to leasing issues.
But as of 2022, Irv’s is back, and most days, you can still spot Sonia Hong handing out burgers with a smile. We’re tickled by Irv’s great return (and especially Hong’s) but we would be remiss to not mention that the experience is just not quite what it used to be.
With bigger investors fueling the business, Irv’s now feels a bit manufactured —the “doodles” are pre-printed and no longer customized per order, the space is polished and minimalist, and the burgers and fries have changed a bit and won’t take you back to the original. If you’re looking for a quick, affordable burger or tuna melt in West Hollywood, Irv’s will do. But the character is gone.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.