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Wacky Western Avenue KFC goes up in flames

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The architecturally distinctive restaurant was damaged in a fire

The restaurant, located on the border of East Hollywood and Koreatown, is expected to eventually reopen.
Via Google Maps

A postmodern-style KFC near the border of East Hollywood and Koreatown—one of the most architecturally distinctive fast food establishments in Los Angeles—was badly damaged by fire Sunday.

Fortunately, Eater LA reports that the restaurant, located on Western Avenue and Oakwood, is “expected to survive and reopen at a later date.”

The fried chicken outpost was completed in 1990 and is an abstract example of programmatic architecture—when a building’s design mimics the shape of a recognizable object, often an item customers can purchase inside.

Designed by Frank Gehry pupils Elyse Grinstein and Jeffrey Daniels, the building roughly approximates the shape of a chicken—and also, weirdly, a bucket of chicken. As the Los Angeles Times reported shortly after the building’s construction, it was “the first architecturally avant-garde Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the United States.”

It’s been a bad month for LA area KFC enthusiasts. Last week, the Los Angeles Planning Department published new plans for a mixed use project that would replace a KFC in Reseda.

Given its curious design, we’re glad to know the Western Avenue restaurant is likely to reopen—even if readers once nominated it as one of the ugliest buildings in Los Angeles.

Clarification: A previous version of this article named only Jeffrey Daniels as the designer of the KFC. In fact, the restaurant was designed by the architectural firm of Elyse Grinstein and Jeffrey Daniels.