NORMS Goes Before the City Council

Will the beloved La Cienega Boulevard diner be granted historical status?

When news broke in January that NORMS, the '50s-era coffee shop at 470 N. La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood, might face the wrecking ball, fans of the eggs-and-baconry stepped up to voice their passionate concern.

Now the Los Angeles City Council will take on that concern, and what's next for the Googie diner. A May 12th date for the council to decide on whether or not to give the famous eatery historical status was moved to May 20th. The 10 a.m. meeting will decide whether this, the oldest operating eatery in the NORMS chain, will be granted Historic-Cultural Landmark status. 

If status is given the demolition permit, which was ordered in January, can be halted, said a council release.

Supporters came together for a passionate rally, complete with memory-filled speeches, outside of the Armet & Davis-designed diner in late March.

March also brought the news that the Cultural Heritage Commission "backed an application" for NORMS to obtain historical status.

Even Jim Balis, CEO of Restaurant Management Group, the group that purchased NORMS in December, voiced the wish that the restaurant might be considered for historic protections. "We are thrilled with the recent decision to consider NORMS La Cienega a Historic-Cultural Landmark," said Mr. Balis in January.

The demolition permit had been filed by the Norman Cienega Property Group, the property's owners.

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In a case of quirky timing, the May 12 city council decision on NORMS arrives just days ahead of the conclusion of the period television series that the diner is tied to in many minds.

"Mad Men," which concludes its seven-season run on May 17, evokes the time of NORMS, and style, it's true. But series creator Matthew Weiner is also a big fan of NORMS. The showrunner spoke at the March rally, revealing he spent many a day at its tables, back when he was a young, aspiring writer, working on ideas. 

So while the show's wrap-up is unavoidable, fans fervently hope the restaurant where the series has its roots will carry on well into the future, with no wrecking ball in sight.

Not simply weathering changing tides and trends, of course, but as an Historic-Cultural Landmark, jagged orange details and rock walls and big glass windows and all.

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