The Eat Sheet: Harry Morton's Next Pink Taco Outpost to Open Where Preston Sturges' Players Club Once Stood

Chris Godley

The scion of the Morton hospitality family discovered relics of the writer-director’s notorious Sunset Strip nightspot, including a VIP tryst tunnel, during recent property renovations.

A version of this story originally appeared in the April 6, 2012, print edition of The Hollywood Reporter’s Rambling Reporter column.

Harry Morton— son of Hard Rock founder Peter Morton — soon will open the second L.A. outpost of his Mexican restaurant chain Pink Taco at 8225 Sunset Blvd. During the renovation of the property, which has been Miyagi’s, the Roxbury and Imperial Gardens, Morton, 30, peeled back enough layers to discover traces of the site’s original hotspot: Preston Sturges’ Players Club.

Run from 1940 to 1953, the multilevel supper club, frequented by Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles and Howard Hughes, was a nexus of the Hollywood scene. Morton dug out the entrance to the Players’ legendary VIP tryst tunnel — which connected to the adjacent Chateau Marmont and has long since been sealed by the city — as well as a revolving circular band stage buried beneath the dance floor that he hopes to restore in a later phase of the project.

“When I first got into this place, it had years of shit piled on top,” says Morton. “But when I stripped it all down, incredible things came to light.”

The first local Pink Taco opened at the Westfield Century City Mall in 2011. Morton also owns live music venue The Viper Room on the Sunset Strip, which was previously partly held by Johnny Depp.