Chili Bowl (West Los Angeles) | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Marcello Vavala

Chili Bowl (West Los Angeles)

On December 5, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously to take our nomination for the Chili Bowl restaurant building in West Los Angeles under consideration. The Conservancy nominated this rare and early example of Programmatic architecture in October, and the property recently sold to a new owner applied for a demolition permit on November 4. There is a hold on permit activity while the nomination is pending.

SurveyLA identified the Chili Bowl as eligible for landmark designation at the national, state, and local levels in Los Angeles’s citywide survey, SurveyLA. The Chili Bowl in West Los Angeles is one of the oldest surviving examples of Programmatic architecture in L.A. Because so few examples remain today, Programmatic buildings are considered a rare resource type. 

The Chili Bowl at 12244 West Pico Boulevard is one of five remaining former Chili Bowl structures from entrepreneur Arthur Whizin’s Chili Bowl restaurant chain, which numbered eighteen locations throughout Los Angeles County at its height in 1941 and 1942. Of the surviving Chili Bowls, the West Los Angeles location is the most intact and has operated nearly continuously as an eatery. The current tenant, Shunji Japanese restaurant, has operated out of the former Chili Bowl since 2012.

Constructed in 1935 as the seventh Chili Bowl restaurant chain location. Arthur Whizin, the owner of the Chili Bowl chain, relocated the building from its original location on Fletcher Drive in Silver Lake to its present site in 1940. Designed in the shape of a giant chili bowl, the structure is an excellent example of programmatic architecture. Buildings in this style mimic either the products sold within or the businesses' identity.

Email Your Councilmember

Please urge CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin today to support the nomination of the Chili Bowl as a Historic-Cultural Monument. 

The Chili Bowl is one of the oldest and most intact examples of programmatic architecture in the city. The Chili Bowl at 12244 West Pico Boulevard is one of five remaining former Chili Bowl structures which numbered eighteen locations throughout Los Angeles County at the chain's height. SurveyLA identified this location as eligible for designation in the National Register, California Register, and as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

You can email Councilmember Bonin at councilmember.bonin@lacity.org or https://11thdistrict.com/contact-us/

Please copy Marcello Vavala (mvavala@laconservancy.org) on your emails.