Monday, November 11, 2013

Rate-A-Restaurant #306: Proud Bird

Proud Bird

Disappointing news this weekend, as it appears that the Proud Bird restaurant, an LAX staple, is set to close on Nov. 21. The Los Angeles Times has the details:

The biggest names in aerospace have sat at the bar here to watch the planes land, people such as Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh and Neil Armstrong.

But the Proud Bird's days may be numbered.

John Tallichet, the current owner and son of the late founder, said it will close Nov. 21, after an unsuccessful two-year effort to negotiate a new lease from the property owners, Los Angeles World Airports.

The city airport commission says it can't help the historic gathering place, saying that federal law, which controls some aspects of airport operations, requires current market value for rents.

Although Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., the Aerospace Corp. and Raytheon Co. all have major facilities nearby, the industry is much smaller than in its heyday and less able to support the red-meat-and-fish dining room.

Nonetheless, supporters of the restaurant are outraged by the upcoming closure, saying that it would mean the loss of an important piece of Los Angeles' history.

We visited the Proud Bird a while ago, but I never got around to writing a Rate-A-Restaurant review. Better late than never:

Restaurant: Proud Bird

Location: 11022 Aviation Blvd. (LAX)

Type of restaurant: American

Proud Bird

We stipulated: A while back when my parents were in town, we decided to do lunch at the Proud Bird (vs. my parents' usual LAX stop at the nearby In N' Out). I knew my dad the Air Force vet and aviation pro would enjoy the environs, and the Blogger Kid would enjoy watching the planes from the window.

Proud Bird

They stipulated: "A tribute to the evolution of modern aviation, The Proud Bird Restaurant is located right next to one of Los Angeles International Airport's (LAX) approach runways, affording diners a one-of-a-kind, front-row view of airplanes coming in for a landing." Also: "As a tenant of the Los Angeles Department of Airports, the Proud Bird is governed by the Living Wage Ordinance of the City of Los Angeles. In order to assist us in honoring the Living Wage Ordinance, and in lieu of raising menu prices, we assess a 15% fee on all sales. None of this fee is paid as a gratuity to employees. We invite you to leave a gratuity separately. Your understanding and continued patronage is greatly appreciated."

Proud Bird

What we ordered: Beer battered fish and chips (Tartar sauce, french fries, malt vinegar) $12; French picnic (Choice of soup or salad, served with a half Turkey & Avocado Club) $10; Prime rib sandwich (Carved to order prime rib on a toasted French baguette, served au jus and creamy horseradish) $13

Proud Bird

High point: The views, naturally. Plus, the inside of the Proud Bird is an aviation museum of sorts. It's a shame that all of this stuff may disappear from public view.

Low point: Nothing all that interesting food-wise here -- the lunch entrees are pretty basic.

Proud Bird

Overall impression: A unique spot and a trip back to the golden age of aviation and Los Angeles' aerospace industry.

Proud Bird

Will we return: Looks like that may be impossible, unfortunately.

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