Watching planes fly in from behind The Proud Bird’s picture window (and a shrimp cocktail) has been the delight of locals and tourists since the LAX-adjacent steakhouse opened back in 1967. Heck, even Neil Armstrong enjoyed the experience. Now, in an L.A. end-of-an-era moment, the restaurant has announced that it will be closing temporarily on February 1 to be transformed into a food hall, à la Grand Central Market.
While vendors have yet to be named, according to the press release, the plan is to feature “diverse artisanal cuisine, paying homage to the cultural melting pot that is Los Angeles.” The Proud Bird’s food will still be served, so the menu—and, fingers crossed, the restaurant’s famous Sunday Brunch—will live on. There will also be a bar.
Renovations are expected to take 10 months. Design Development Group and Think Roth Projects, the design teams behind the re-do, will maintain the aviation theme with plenty of aircraft memorabilia (and hopefully all those cool photos that currently grace the space’s wood-panelled walls) and even a suspended P-40 Flying Tiger replica. Floor-to-ceiling windows will provide panoramic views.
Back in 2013, residents and various aviation associations were integral in helping John Tallichet, the son of The Proud Bird founder David C. Tallichet and President and CEO of Proud Bird owner Specialty Restaurants Corporations, secure approval of a 20-year lease from the Board of Airport Commissioners after two years of unsuccessful negotiations put the restaurant’s fate in jeopardy. It remains to be seen how the local community will take to the new plans, but John Tallichet is excited about the change.
“Our customers have been friends of The Proud Bird since my father, David, first opened the restaurant nearly 50 years ago,” he said in the press release. “Their undying support has defined this restaurant in profound ways, and we are excited to finally have the chance to give this community the contemporary dining and drinking experience it deserves.”
Get your last look at The Proud Bird before the renovation this month—the restaurant will be running at full speed until January 31.