The city's Cultural Heritage Commission will tour the hot dog stand at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Gulf Drive in Wilmington on Thursday in preparation for a likely vote next month. If the CHC approves the request, the recommendation will go to the City Council for final approval.
Wienerschnitzel, which was known as Der Wienerschnitzel from its founding in 1961 until it dropped the "Der" in 1977, is the world's largest chain of hot dog restaurants. Its 350 restaurants in 10 states (plus Guam) sell 120 million hot dogs a year, according to the company.
The request to have the first Der Wienerschnitzel designated a Historic-Cultural Monument came from the family of company founder, John Galardi, who passed away earlier this summer. Councilman Joe Buscaino's staff initiated the nomination through a Council motion, and the Planning Department's Office of Historic Resources is preparing the nomination, according to OHR manager Ken Bernstein.
Buscaino's planning deputy, Alison Becker, told LandUseLA.com that the council office was happy to help with the request because Der Wienterschnitzel's origins are "a big deal here in Wilmington. ... We were really glad when the Planning Department staff agreed that it is a location that is worthy of a nomination."
Bernstein said the company's global reach has a lot to do with the nomination. "The significance cited in the motion is largely tied to this site's status as the first location of a significant large chain," Bernstein told LandUseLA.com.
The City currently has more than 1,000 Historic-Cultural Monuments, providing official recognition and protection for Los Angeles’ "most significant and cherished historic resources," according to the Cultural Heritage Commission. If approved, this would be the 11th HCM in the Wilmington-Harbor City area.
Among the restaurants that have received the HCM designation in LA: the Original Pantry in downtown Los Angeles, the Brown Derby in Los Feliz, Yamashiro in Hollywood and the Munch Box in Chatsworth. But Der Wienerschnitzel would be the first honored restaurant with a drive-thru, which was a unique feature when the hot dog stand opened 53 years ago but has become ubiquitous with fast-food restaurants in recent decades.
Cultural Heritage Commission agenda for Sept. 12:
Planning Department Case:
Historic-Cultural Monuments in Wilmington-Harbor City area:
John Galardi dies at 75; founder of Der Wienerschnitzel