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Greasy Burger Shack Threatened by Purple-Hued Office Project

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Molly's Charbroiler, a popular Hollywood diner currently sits at 1601 Vine Street, the same address where an eight-story, glass-sided office building called Vine Street Tower is planned. And at a City Council meeting today, there was some emotional testimony from the owners of the diner, who asked the council members for help in terms of relocation. The owners are represented by--who else?--popular land use attorney Robert Silverstein, who cleverly noted that even the city has admitted this building may be worth saving: The Community Redevelopment Agency released a report in February, indicating that Molly's may be eligible for listing as a historical cultural monument. But let's get on to the important information. How tasty is the food?

Yelpers seemed mixed in terms of reviews, but they generally sway positive: "I recommend the chili cheese burger and bbq ribs..."So, 4 stars for the hamburger, 2 for fries"..."Molly's is a throwback burger, hot dog, and random Korean food counter..."And there's this bold claim: "Not the best burger in L.A., in my opinion, but probably the best burger in Hollywood."

And back to the CRA report mentioned by Silverstein. If you click on this link, you can see it under "Hollywood Historic Survey Update." Here's an excerpt from the report, which talks about the explosion of roadside diners during the 1920-1940s, and why, perhaps this one should be saved:

"The diners cropped up quickly due to a number of factors, including the expansion of the railroad system, and industrialization and rapid growth of urban areas initially created the demand for quick meals for travelers, workers, and busy families." According to the report "the number of restaurants in the United States grew by 40% from 1910-1927."

And the part that mentions Molly's: "Three roadside eateries are extant in Hollywood. One appears eligible for local listing. Located at 1601 Vine Street, Molly's Charbroiler was constructed in 1953."

In addition to the appearance of the owners and attorney Silverstein, a handful of neighborhood activists also spoke during the public comment period. There was a lot of talk about both protecting small business and about preservation (and a mention of the now neutered Brown Derby restaurant). And in the end, the City Council delayed ultimately deciding on what would happen to the diner, which may end up being moved elsewhere in Hollywood or may end up going in the nearby under-construction parking lot in Hollywood. The City Council is expected to take up the matter again next week. Meanwhile, the office tower is a CRA project that's being done in conjunction with local developer Pacifica Ventures.

· Molly's Charbroiler [Yelp]