In this day and age, few things prove to have any real staying power. TV shows come and go, bookstores are going out of business left and right, and almost nothing is more cutthroat than the restaurant industry.
The walk-up taco joint on the corner of Tujunga and Moorpark has been around for 51 years and is beloved by the community. So why is owner Janis Hood closing the doors at the end of the month?
Carson called up Hood to get her side of the story.
It all began a year ago when Hood nominated her family’s business for landmark status. The Cultural Heritage Commission voted 5-0 in favor, but the City Council never acted upon it.
“We are an unaltered roadside stand of the early ’60s with the original signage and I think we’re pretty loved in the community,” Hood told Carson.
Meanwhile, Hood claims her landlord, Mehran Ebrahimpour, was not happy with her petition.
“I think that even though it’s only a 280 square foot building and it’s the only thing that’s been on that corner for 51 years, I gather from what he has said that does not like the fact that he would not be able to demolish or alter it if he so chose. It would be protected.”
They could not resolve their dispute and Hood says Ebrahimpour refused to renew her lease.
She still wanted the tradition of Henry’s Tacos to continue, so she says she found a few financially-sound buyers who wanted to keep running the restaurant. According to Hood, the landlord wasn’t on board with this either.
“I wanted some people who know Henry’s and care about it to continue it. They’re ready, willing, and able. They’ve met all of the landlord’s requests in terms of money and all of that and he’s apparently just not interested.”
“It would be a win-win situation. He would continue to have a good tenant for as long as he chose and the community would have their little institution on the corner.”
One of the reasons Carson is so fired up about this is because losing Henry’s is more than losing just another restaurant. It’s about losing a legacy.
“Some families have four generations eating at Henry’s. People move away and when they come back, they see Henry’s on that corner and they know they’re home,” Hood explained. “It’s been my family’s honor for 51 years to be in this community and I’m sad that, you know, it may have to end.”
So unless some miracle happens at the eleventh hour, Henry’s Tacos will have to shut down by December 31. Fans of the taco spot are devastated and even celebrities are speaking out.
What can you do to help? Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul will be there on Sunday for a rally of sorts. The restaurant is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. that day.
There’s also a online petition you can sign in hopes of changing some people’s minds.
Also, make sure to visit the Henry’s Tacos Facebook page to send your messages of support.
- Are you upset that Henry’s Tacos is closing? Tell us why or why not in the comments section!
-Sarah Carroll, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles