A deal may be in the works that would allow Henry's Tacos to remain open with a new owner, according to current owner Janis Hood, whose family started the business 51 years ago.
Community outcry and celebrity support have created a Christmas miracle of sorts, Hood said, that will keep the Studio City landmark open until at least Jan. 10. She had previously planned to close the business Dec. 31.
At the stand on Saturday, Hood put up a sign for her loyal customers that read: "Thank you! Your tremendous support has resulted in new talks for a lease! We will remain open thru at least 1/10/13!"
Hood said she wrote the message out of desperation, due to the large crowds that have been coming nearly every day since she announced the stand's impending closure on Dec. 8.
"I put the sign out because we were about to run out of food and I was hoping for some crowd control!" she said.
The new owner of Henry's Tacos could be Matt Pyken, a Studio City TV writer.
"We are trying to work out something with the landlord," Pyken said, "but nothing has been signed yet."
Pyken has said that if he were to become the owner of Henry's Tacos, he would keep the staff that has worked with Hood for decades.
Henry's fans have been inundating the landlord, Mehran Ebrahimpour of Beverly Hills, with phone calls and letters, urging him to make a deal with Hood.
Over the past year, Hood worked to find prospective buyers for the business, but they were rejected by Ebrahimpour. She also sought to have the city designate Henry's Tacos a historical landmark, an effort that stalled before consideration by the City Council, reportedly over concerns about her dispute with the landlord.
On Friday, Hood said, Ebrahimpour’s attorney, Arash Naghdi, talked with her attorney and she agreed to keep Henry's Tacos operating, rent free, through Jan. 10.
"I hope that the fact that the landlord wants extra time and is willing to forgo rent means a deal is near," Hood said.
Studio City Patch's repeated requests for comment from Naghdi and Ebrahimpour have gone unanswered.
Hood told Patch late Saturday night that the community support she has received has helped.
"I think my running my mouth to you media folks and the coverage of last Sunday's event are giving [Ebrahimpour] a lot of uncomfortable exposure," she said.
Hood never had a longterm lease, and Pyken said he would like to have a longer lease than what has been offered.
"I'm still waiting for a lease from the landlord," Pyken said, "so honestly the deal isn't done, especially in this situation."
Meanwhile, on the Hidden Los Angeles page on Facebook, fans were jubilant:
- Jinjer Hundley: Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!
- Justin Humphreys: Their tacos and burritos are WONDERFUL.
- Ambrose Smith: I was there 2 weeks ago thinking it would be my last visit. Glad it won't be!
- Tammy Ryan: Best news ever!!!
- Annabel Lee Gill: Yes! Drove by today and there was quite a line.. I hope it continues.
- Cory Mac A'Ghobhainn: people power!
And Hobbit actor Elijah Wood retweeted a Patch headline Sunday and wrote:
#savehenrystacos Help Janice Hood experience a Christmas miracle and do everything you can to make enough noise to save Henry's Tacos!
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