Wed, Aug

LA's Next Historic-Cultural Landmark a Taco Stand?

LA PLANNING - In a town credited with popularizing “gringo” Mexican food, it seems appropriate that Los Angeles’ next historic monument could be Henry’s Tacos, the 50-year-old culinary institution in North Hollywood.

The third-generation owner of Henry’s Tacos has filed an application with the City’s Office of Historic Resources to have the taco stand declared a Historic-Cultural Monument. Janis Hood, granddaughter of founder Henry Comstock, hopes to preserve the building “if any development issues come up in the future,” her representative, Charles Fischer, told LandUseLA.com.

Fischer says the architectural style of Henry’s Tacos is in the “Googie Vernacular,” with its upswept roof and integral signage. He acknowledges that the taco stand is “definitely on the lower, simpler end of the scale” but says that’s part of the reason to preserve Henry’s Taco stand since it “may have been a prototype for similar structures that dotted the Los Angeles area during the 1960s and 1970s” of which only a handful remain.

“Henry’s Tacos … is an intact example of the type of roadside fast food stand that punctuated the American landscape during the mid-20th Century,” wrote Fischer in the HCM application. Fischer specializes in obtaining historical designations for sites and lists more than 100 Historical-Cultural Monuments that he has written and/or researched and advocated for since 1988 on his website.

Henry’s Tacos will mark its 50th anniversary this December. In that time, it has developed a multi-generational fan base of loyal followers (Facebook page) plus the occasional critic too (Yelp).  Among its fans is filmmaker Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) who called it “a great Los Angeles restaurant” in an interview with KPCC-FM. [link]

Earlier this year, an unknown driver ran into the side of Henry’s Tacos while it was closed, causing extensive damage (Studio City Patch).   While a HCM designation can help a business owner with financial incentives to repair or renovate a site, Fischer told LandUseLA.com that this application was started months before the accident and is unrelated.

The Cultural Heritage Commission will decide this Thursday if it wants to accept the application for review. Commission members would tour the property in November and decide at one of the commission’s December meetings whether to add the restaurant to its 1000+ list of Historic-Cultural Monuments. HCM Case.

(Chris Parker is the founding editor of landusela.com where this report was first posted.) -cw

Tags: Mexican food, Taco stand, Henry’s Tacos, North Hollywood, Historic-Cultural Landmark, Charles Fischer, landuse

Vol 9 Issue 79
Pub: Oct 4, 2011