Tag Archives: larchmont bungalow

Larchmont Bungalow Parking

TIMELINE OF EVENTS: LARCHMONT BUNGALOW’S VIOLATIONS OF THE LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL CODE

May 2009
Bungalow is cleared under the special “Q” zoning conditions of Larchmont Village. They are cleared because their permit application is for that of a retail/takeout establishment, not a sit-down restaurant.

June 2009
An affidavit is signed by a Larchmont Bungalow representative stating that the establishment would operate as a take-out and not have seating for dine-in.  Technically called a “covenant,” the legal affidavit is an instrument used by the Department of Building and Safety to guarantee compliance. Bungalow is allowed to have only seven (7) parking spaces as long as it provides no seating for dining and operates only as a takeout place. This is because a sit-down restaurant with Bungalow’s gross floor area would require twenty-five (25) parking spaces.

October 2009
Larchmont Bungalow opens with only a takeout/retail license but operates as a sit-down restaurant. The Department of Building and Safety revokes the certificate of occupancy because of the violation.

December 2009
An appeal by Larchmont Bungalow is denied, thereby upholding the validity of the signed affidavit. The establishment’s permit and occupancy certificate that are required for businesses to operate are revoked.

February 2010
Larchmont Bungalow starts a Living Social deal involving dine-in only coupons for bargain hunters. They have since negotiated to honor more than 8,000 coupons, all with the stipulation that they can only be used for dining in.

March 2010
Assistant City Attorney Tina Hess files criminal charges against Larchmont Bungalow. The three counts are failing to comply with a city agency; providing false information; and continuing to operate without a certificate of occupancy.

June 2011
The criminal arraignment is again continued, to September 8th.

Source for timeline: LarchmontLA

Ever since the Bungalow group entered the village and started “investments” in the community,  the congestion has become severe. If there was ever a case in which  the city’s laws have to be followed in order to preserve the character of an area, it would be this case. There’s a reason laws are put into place.

An investor cannot arbitrarily decide to build establishments that don’t provide parking spaces required under rules and calculations that are applied consistently citywide.

Government has a legislated procedure for handling the circumstances under which particular businesses are allowed to operate. The Department of Building and Safety did its parking analysis for this property and structure; it required a covenant, as it has in many other instances. Every food establishment in the mid-Wilshire area, even the small family restaurants, painstakingly fulfill whatever is required of them under the law.

It is NOT FAIR that an entity be exempted from the law just because they have the money to hire lawyers to question what was a matter-of-course decision by an administrative agency — more so because operating as a sit-down restaurant as Bungalow has been doing without permit since 2009 is NOT LEGAL; it’s an affront to the law and to those who follow the law. 


Larchmont Bungalow: No Menu? No Seating?

Does the Larchmont Bungalow have an expansive menu or what? Breakfast menu, Lunch menu, Dinner menu… Cake and Pastries menu from Crumb Fairy Bakery in Van Nuys. (Most of their baked goods are not made on site, contrary to what their regular customers have been led to believe.) I laughed after reading the following off the LarchmontLA site.

Do the wealthy Korean-Americans of Hancock Park and Orange County know that they haven’t been eating their $22.95 filet mignon and $21.95 seabass dinners at a restaurant, but at a furniture store?

Larchmont Bungalow a Furniture Store

In a meeting with the neighborhood, Ken Bernard and Jonathan Ahron, representing the Larchmont Bungalow, said they are operating as a take-out business.

When asked why they have tables and chairs in the restaurant, Mr. Bernard said they have furniture, including beds, to sell to their customers. There are signs posted saying all food is served “to go.”

When asked if the business is now a furniture store, Mr. Bernard said yes, that’s what their customers wanted, so that’s what they’re providing.

Asked if they’re really a furniture store, or just selling the furniture because it was there, Mr. Bernard said that in addition to food sales, the business has a bakery and lots of other retail sales.

Mr. Ahron said it’s a “concept store,” and there are similar businesses in New York, San Francisco and other cities.  He also noted that he and Mr. Ahron are tenants in the building, and not the building’s co-owners (with Albert Mizrahi), as has been reported.

When asked what percentage of the business the furniture sales represent, Mr. Ahron said he doesn’t know yet.  Mr. Bernard said furniture sales wasn’t in their original business plan, and they just started, but there has been an overwhelming response from customers.  He said they are constantly adapting to the demands of their customers.

When asked about the original purpose of the furniture that’s now for sale, Mr. Bernard said the original intent was to operate a take-out restaurant.  But the landlord signed an agreement promising no tables or chairs, so they had to change their business plan.

When asked if the furniture sales aren’t really a “clever conceit,” and whether patrons sit on the furniture while they’re eating, Mr. Bernard said customers do try out the furniture.

When asked how many pieces of furniture have been sold and what prices they’re asking for various items, Mr. Bernard said they have sold some pieces, and have the receipts to prove it. He also said that if customers request specific pieces or brands of furniture, they will procure them.

When asked if he knew when he leased the space that this would be a sit-down restaurant, Mr. Bernard stated again that the Bungalow is a take-out restaurant, and not a sit-down restaurant.

When asked if he was aware that he was not allowed to have tables and chairs, Mr. Bernard said the landlord signed off on their original business plan.  Mr. Ahron said the City asked the owner to sign the affidavit promising no tables and chairs, but that he and Mr. Bernard were not aware of it.

When asked which of them was present in 2009 when the agreement to not have a sit-down restaurant was reached, Mr. Bernard said he and Mr. Ahron were at the meeting.

When it was noted there is a sign at the restaurant advertising breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mr. Bernard said the sign has always been there.

 

–  –  –

A total of 8,177 half-off coupons, each offered with the stipulation that the buyer can only use the coupon for dine-in at Larchmont Bungalow and not for take-out.

Groupon: 4,417 deals purchased on February 8, 2011
Expires August 8, 2011

1,863 Living Social coupons purchased on December 10, 2010
Expires June 10, 2011

1,556 Living Social coupons purchased on July 27, 2010
Expired January 27, 2011

341 Living Social coupons purchased on February 25, 2010
Expired August 25, 2010

 


Food Poisoning at Larchmont Bungalow: Updates?

News today is the latest set of documents released by the Health Department pertaining to food poisoning complaints at Larchmont Bungalow.

The folks at LarchmontLA.com haven’t published the papers, citing all sorts of excuses (it’s hundreds of pages, files too big to upload to the site, have to blacken out personal information, etc. etc.).

Hmmph.  It would be interesting to see how the new information provided by civil servants will jibe with what the consensus has privately been since the controversy surfaced in early March.

MY PERSONAL CONJECTURE

Larchmont Bungalow ran a Groupon deal even before their Living Social coupons expired.  February 7th, they sold 4,340 Groupons entitling each to $30 worth of food for just $15.

As soon as the next weekend came along, these coupon bargain hunters flocked to Bungalow. No reservation system in place, so the line was literally out the door. It was so insanely packed a resident contemplated reporting it to the LAFD as a fire hazard.

The kitchen is small (Larchmont Bungalow wasn’t meant to be a restaurant with a seating capacity of 60+plus but was originally equipped to be just a takeout facility), so it couldn’t handle the deluge of customers.

Food trays were being placed on trash cans. Ready-to-serve food was being placed UNDER raw eggs. Employees who didn’t feel so good still had to show up for work because everyone was needed in the kitchen chopping and cooking. Food preparers were so busy they couldn’t be bothered to wear gloves even though they had open cuts on their hands.

Oh, and after customers started tweeting and posting on Yelp that the wait times for their orders were taking as long as an hour, someone decides… let’s prepare a lot more stuff in advance! That means “freshly prepared” ingredients had actually been sitting there for hours. It was so chaotic that ready orders were being left on the counter unattended. The EggsBennyTour experts were even served eggs benedict cold.

Mid-February, customers started getting cramps and diarrhea after eating at Larchmont Bungalow. As with most people who experience symptoms of food poisoning, they weather it out and then forget about it. But it occurred to one customer to leave a quick tip on Yelp on March 1st. And someone saw it and told someone, who told someone… who told Larchmonters on March 4th.

Do you think LarchmontLA published it right away, as they have a reputation for breaking news in a matter of minutes? No. They sat on the tip for days (the why of which is yet another story). When they did tweet about it, they had immediate responses that other people had gotten sick after eating at Larchmont Bungalow. And every time they tweeted about it, more people came forward.

Finally, finally! Someone posted on Facebook, “Hey, how many more people have to get sick before we call the health department?”  Who calls? You? Me? Dilly-dally, shilly-shally… Ok, let’s ask the victims to call. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County is so understaffed they don’t send an investigator to the Bungalow until March 23rd.

The rest, as they say, you can read all over the internet.

DISCLAIMER (lest the Bungalow’s lawyers threaten me the way they’ve threatened LarchmontLA): The above paragraphs are a work of fiction, based on the March 23rd official report made by the County’s health investigator in response to food poisoning complaints.

And these pages: http://larchmontla.com/cc

http://koreanslate.com/larchmont-bungalow-food-poisoning.html

http://koreanslate.com/is-the-larchmont-bungalow-an-illegal-restaurant.html

To my dear readers, I hope you found my above-posted fictional work entertaining. Please refer to the original sources it was based on and form your own opinion, to which each of us is entitled. I’ll come up with another work of fiction after I’ve read more public records.

As for the Larchmonters, hurry up!  Quit covering historical buildings and  menu specials, and start publishing those documents. I want to write a better story!

– – –

Groupon: 4,417 deals purchased on February 8, 2011

Expires August 8, 2011

1,863 Living Social coupons purchased on December 10, 2010

Expires June 10, 2011

1,556 Living Social coupons purchased on July 27, 2010

Expired January 27, 2011

341 Living Social coupons purchased on February 25, 2010

Expired August 25, 2010

Total: 8,177 “dine-in only” coupons since February 2010

- – -
March 23 Email from LA County’s FBI Team (PDF)


Food Poisoning at Larchmont Bungalow?

As if addressing the neighbors’ legal problems weren’t enough, now we have to answer questions about whether it’s even safe to eat there.

The first week of March 2011, a tip was submitted to Yelp’s iPhone app about an incident involving six people suffering food poisoning after eating at the Larchmont Bungalow.

Food Poisoning - Larchmont Bungalow

Eggs may cause food poisoning
like they did for our entire group of 6.

Upon verification that this was an actual screenshot of the information on the app, the Twitpic was posted in the @LarchmontLA account. Immediately, other Twitter users came forward with similar reports.

@AKSchweitz tweeted “I also got food poisoned at Larchmont Bungalow!

@JennaDowns said she had gotten sick months ago after eating a tuna burger — she returned more recently to give the restaurant another try and had a chicken salad, but again this caused her to fall ill.

A friend of @BrandaceBaker had a meat omelet and the bison chili on March 5th and was still suffering the effects of food poisoning the following day.

Daniel Kim sent DMs stating he and a friend had also fallen ill after eating at the Larchmont Bungalow in the first week of March.

Belatedly on March 14th, @damagedgears confided he had intense symptoms after eating an omelet on Labor Day.

The earliest written account of food poisoning at the Bungalow was a Yelp review by Marisa S in May 2010. Counting her case would make it eight incidents involving thirteen people.

@fairuza tweeted: “Every time I’ve eaten there I got a stomach ache!!!”

@1mexiruvian: “I suffered an allergic reaction to a beef burger I ate at Larchmont Bungalow a few months ago.”


On March 14th, Kristina M. posted on Yelp that she was served a teacup with lipstick stains on it and then a few minutes later a blackberry that had a white worm crawling out of it.

Earlier in February 2011, Kalie Rose sent a DM stating she had found hair in the bread she was served at the Bungalow.


These reports of illnesses pertain to an eatery that has been open a mere year. As hyperlocal social-media managers will tell you, it’s not uncommon to receive these reports of food poisoning at area restaurants — usually one case per restaurant per year. The number of people who have fallen sick after eating at the Larchmont Bungalow is alarming.

UPDATE: The LA County health department is asking those who have suffered food poisoning to confidentially submit details by calling 213-240-7821  (press #2) or filling out this form.

If you’ve found hair in bread, worm in fruit, or lipstick stain on a cup (which did not result in food poisoning), such an incident can be reported on this different form or by calling 888-700-9995 (please listen to entire recording).

Name of establishment: Larchmont Bungalow
Address: 107 N Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Phone number: 323 461-1528



BREAKING NEWS: LarchmontLA.com is reporting that the health department sent an investigator to Larchmont Bungalow  on March 23rd in response to complaints of food poisoning, and she found six violations during her visit.



This is a reworking of a report page on LarchmontLA.com that is constantly being updated. For the original article, please visit that website http://larchmontla.com


Is the Larchmont Bungalow an illegal restaurant?

It’s an oft-repeated fact that the majority of the actual residents of Ktown are Latinos. Koreans who come here for the BBQ and those who own the local businesses? They live in Orange County or in nearby Hancock Park aka “Hankook” Park. Ask any shop proprietor on Larchmont (Hancock Park’s commercial district) and you’ll be told that roughly 30% of their customers are Korean and/or the Caucasian and black Hollywood aspirants who can afford to live only in Ktown. It’s the proximity.

The point of the previous paragraph? That’s the reason why a person in my position and job title is asked all the time the question, “What’s this about the Larchmont Bungalow being illegal?”

I’m asked this so often that I’m now able to sum it up in a few sentences.

1. In June 2009, the Larchmont Bungalow signed a legal covenant promising the city that they would not build a sit-down restaurant.

2. The Larchmont Bungalow built a sit-down restaurant, so the city revoked their permit after they opened.

3. Their permit was revoked in December 2009. They’ve been operating illegally since then.

4. In March 2010, the city filed criminal charges against the Bungalow for operating without a permit.

5. The criminal case will finally be heard in March 2011.

There are a lot of business irregularities that are overlooked in Koreatown, but nothing as brazen as what the Bungalow has been trying to pull off. Will they get away with it? Well, with the prices they’ve been charging their customers, they have enough money for the lawyers and the spinmeisters.

Just the fact that they’ve managed to delay the case for over a year… it’s gotten so that everyone assumes they’ve cleared up their legal problems and is a completely normal restaurant.

Will the Bungalow be shut down? Although it’s clear that what they did was an outright violation of the law, rich people who can afford the lawyers and spinmeisters can get away even with murder, especially in this part of Los Angeles.

One blog reported that the Bungalow will merely be fined a thousand dollars for each day they’ve been open illegally. Is that enough of a deterrent to prevent another company from violating the law so egregiously in the future? Not if they intend to rake in enough cash to offset the possible fine.

UPDATE: Need proof that a couple of million dollars for lawyers can let you get away with anything?

The criminal case has again been delayed, this time to June 12, 2012.