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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Norms Lovers Fight To Preserve Landmark Location

Norms Diner on La Cienega is facing demolition after a landlord's decision to "relandscape" the building.

Norms has proclaimed themselves “best family restaurant” in Los Angeles for years and has been dishing out food and fun to people of all ages. Recently, the popular diner has received great attention due to the fact that the iconic property may be shutting down its doors to make room for a landlord’s “new business venture.”

“We are losing the few places like this that are left,” LA City Councilman Paul Kortez said. “We want to ask that the best example of architecture, the best example of community support is saved.”

The restaurant chain has 18 store locations and caters to customers 24/7. Employees and staff members said they constantly see new and familiar faces daily, like Max Finkelsine, who has been coming to Norms for more than thirty years and is quickly approaching his 100th birthday. 

“It’s part of the landscape. It’s like a tree that has grown and become stable,” Finkelsine said. “If it was taken away it would be a loss to the configuration of La Cienaga Boulevard, it would change it.”

Norms features mid-1950s architecture that is seldom seen throughout LA. Customers hope that the unique charm and attentive customer service will be enough to save the building from demolition.

“All of the landmarks around here are few and far between, so it’s nice to come up and support the building,” customer Victor Raphael said. “Hopefully it will be here for my grandkids to see.”

“It is actually a significant building that everyone would deeply miss if it was torn down,” said "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner.

Norms' La Cienega location has started a petition to collect community support to ensure the building keeps its doors open by making it into an “iconic L.A. landmark” that would be preserved by the city.

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