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For the entirety of its 72-year existence, The Apple Pan diner on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles has been owned and operated by the restaurant’s founding family — until now. According to several sources, music moguls Irving and Shelli Azoff have acquired the beloved West L.A. institution famed for its classic American fare of burgers, fries and apple pies. It is but the latest acquisition by the Azoffs, who appear to be in the midst of an iconic restaurant buying spree. Last month, news broke that the couple had also purchased the legendary Nate ‘n Al deli in Beverly Hills.
When reached on Monday, Shelli Azoff declined to comment.
Ellen and Alan Baker first opened The Apple Pan on April 11, 1947, and it has since become one of the most reliable and consistent restaurants in the city. To this day, the restaurant, which has been run by the Bakers’ daughter Martha Gamble, only accepts cash. Over the last seven decades, The Apple Pan has endeared itself to multiple generations of Angelenos who have plopped down at its U-shaped wrap-around Formica counter to scarf down one of their famed quarter-pound hickory burgers. Tourists regularly make pilgrimages there, and Jeffrey Katzenberg has called it his favorite burger joint in the city, a sentiment shared by many.
“It’s hard to hand that over,” Sunny Sherman, granddaughter of Ellen and Alan Baker, told LAist on Monday. “You’ve been doing that for so many years. You have your ways of doing things and you have a real interest in something like that and maintaining something that your grandparents started.”
What the Azoffs have in store for the franchise is an open question. Shelli Azoff has been the driving force behind the two recent acquisitions and at one point she had assembled a team of Hollywood power players to come on board as potential investors in Nate ‘n Al (An Azoff spokesperson told THR that there is no investor group and that the Azoff’s are the sole owners of Nate ‘n Al). It is unclear if a similar group is involved in the Apple Pan acquisition. With two legendary culinary brands at their disposal, one source speculated that the Azoffs may open branded off-shoot restaurants at The Forum. Irving Azoff is chairman and CEO of the Azoff Company, a a privately held media and entertainment company that has a consulting agreement with the Madison Square Garden Company, which owns The Forum.
On the new owners, Sherman told the LAist, “I wanted people that hopefully were longtime customers, which I found. People that knew how to run a business and were successful at doing that, I found. People that wanted to keep our employees. That I found. People that didn’t have to make this a big business to survive, to get their money back right away. And people who don’t want to change it. And I got all that. All those points I was able to find in one group of people.”
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