You have another month to experience a Southern California institution. Westchester’s famed Proud Bird Restaurant, due to close yesterday, has been given a brief reprieve. Jason Groman talks about a man’s vision that celebrated the Jet Age and the Tuskegee Airmen.
You have another month to experience a Southern California institution. Westchester’s famed Proud Bird Restaurant, due to close yesterday, has been given a brief reprieve and will stay open through December 21st. KCRW’s Jason Groman is a fan.
David Tallichet founded the historic aviation-themed restaurant in 1965. Tallichet was a World War II B-17 pilot and wanted share his love of aviation. This was the Jet Age, LAX was growing, so what a better spot for The Proud Bird’s location than Aviation Blvd.
Tallichet’s other aim was to honor American Airmen, including the African-American fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen. Not only could you get a prime rib dinner at the Proud Bird, you got an education.
David Tallichet’s son John is the chairman of the board of Specialty Restaurants Corp.the parent of Runway Two-Five Corp which owns the Proud Bird. The property is owned by Los Angeles World Airports. The Proud Bird has been on a month-to-month lease since 2011, paying, according to John, about $18,000 a month, or $200,000 yearly. In order to give the restaurant a new lease, the airport wanted to raise the rent to $510,000 per year. Without expansive renovations and the raising of the rent Runway Two-Five Corp found no viable option but to close.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles airport and City Hall officials blame federal laws that require they charge market-based rent.
Following a public outcry at the restaurant’s closure, it will now remain open until December 21, and owners and airport officials say they are continuing negotiations.
Meanwhile, make sure to drop by and order a 1944 Mai Tai to toast another treasure in Southern California that may be lost.