Irv’s is Back: Beloved WeHo Burger Stand Returns After 4-Year Hiatus

Everything old is new again—beginning July 1, Sonia Hong is back serving old-timers and new customers at Irv’s Burgers

From 1946 and for the following 72 years, everyone went to Irv’s. Cross-dressers and caregivers alike have lined up alongside tourists and megafans for burgers and fries at the popular West Hollywood stand. In 2000, Sonia Hong and her family bought the little establishment on Sweetzer Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd., kept Irv’s as its name, then watched it become even more popular over the years—mostly due to Hong and her mom’s friendly service. Each and every paper plate there had a sweet message: “Just for you!”

However, trouble with their landlord struck and Irv’s had to be moved further down Santa Monica Blvd. Unfortunately, that location never caught on and Irv’s was shuttered in 2018. It was after that when Lawrence Longo, owner of the food app Off The Menu and a mad burger enthusiast, came along to resurrect the stand. He had fallen in love with Hong’s sandwiches and he just couldn’t see them disappearing. 

“It’s an important part of the L.A. culture,” says the restaurateur. “I had to figure out a way to get Sonia back to her space, so we became partners.”

Irv’s burger. (Photo: Wonho Frank Lee)

And get her back he certainly did as the beloved burger spot re-opens Friday, now at 7998 Santa Monica Blvd. Its red trim is freshly painted and a few tables may have been added, but the heart of Irv’s—the walk-up window where Hong takes orders—remains. Diners will also find a refreshed menu, but they need not fret as Longo hasn’t gussied up the food that regulars adore.

“It’s a burger stand and will remain so,” says Longo. “It was one of the first burger stands on Route 66 and I wanted to respect that great history.”

However, he did bring on Armen Piskoulian, owner of Oui Melrose, to oversee the product as Irv’s culinary director. Longo says Piskoulian makes the best hamburger in L.A. and evidently, many agree. The Oui Melrose burger was named “Best of” by the Los Angeles Times in 2019. Piskoulian apparently concurs that Hong’s burger shouldn’t be messed with, as it has pride of place on the menu. But he has added a few items. The pastrami sandwich is supplied by the same source as Langer’s Delicatessen in Westlake, which is renowned for that particular cured meat. Also, Piskoulian has developed a special new recipe for Irv’s bread. 

“Everything is all-natural,” he proudly says. 

Diners will have to debate a $4 charge for cheese sauce and fries, which can be added to any dish— charitably, $1 of that will be donated to the Orthopedic Center at Children’s Hospital. 

And yes, “Just for you!” will be doodled on every plate—just like it was in the before times. 

Irv’s Burgers — 7998 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight
Delivery: Postmates and Uber Eats

Irv’s Original $6.25/Double $9.25. Fries ($4)
BLT ($9), Pastrami ($16), Tuna ($10); Tuna Melt ($12)
Shakes ($6) Cookies ($5)

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