Today the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee is schedule to vote on designating the very first Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant a Historic-Cultural Monument. The walk-up/drive-through hot dog stand was opened in Wilmington in 1961 by John Galardi, who died earlier this year. Galardi got his big break in the fast food industry from Taco Bell founder Glen Bell; when he found a location next to one of Bell's taco shops on PCH, Bell told him to go for it, so long as he didn't sell tacos.
Galardi plumped for hot dogs, and named his restaurant for Vienna's famed breaded veal cutlets just to confuse people. Or, as he explained: "I was at dinner one night at their house and Bell's wife was looking at a cookbook and said you ought to call it wienerschnitzel. I told my wife going home nobody in their right mind would call a company wienerschnitzel. Three days later, I said, 'Hell, it's better than John's Hot Dogs.'" And a legend was born.
The PLUM motion notes that the original location "preceded the signature A-frame design of the chain and epitomized the drive-thru restaurant concept made popular in the 1960s, strongly associated with Los Angeles' car culture." We assume the motion will pass, since "Everyone loves a wiener!"
· Motion to designate (pdf) [LA City Clerk]