El Pollo Loco West Hollywood has finally opened at 8601 Santa Monica Boulevard, on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westmount Drive, after many challenges and several delays (they were supposed to open on August 30th).
According to one of the owners, Mr. Gershon Wajntraub, there were a lot of problems with West Hollywood permits, and construction proved to be very difficult, being located under Trader Joe’s. “We found this space three years ago and it took us one year to open since we put up the sign, there were so many delays,” he said “We were not going to open today because we had problems with the ceiling, but we decided do it so we opened at 10 o’clock in the morning. It was a miracle we opened, but here we are. People seem very happy.”
The owners originally opened the Pollo Loco at Crescent Heights and Sunset Boulevards 34 years ago, located just outside of the West Hollywood limits. That location closed at the end of 2019 due to the property being torn down for a giant redevelopment project.
“It was built by the effort of many people,” said Wajntraub. “We actually rented the lease after the Vietnamese bakery closed. It was a lot of work. The setup looks spacious. Everything is new. We can sit 50 people inside and we plan to build a patio out front to accommodate more customers, but that won’t be until later in the future.”
He says he used to be a West Hollywood resident and lived up the street on Westmount Drive before he moved to Beverly Hills. He was a member of the 24-Hour Fitness gym that used to be located across the street. He said he remembers when West Hollywood City Hall was located where his restaurant stands today. He paid tribute to the history of the building by exposing a brick wall on the west end of the restaurant, which is original to the building.
The new location also brings back some of the original management and employees from the Crescent Heights location. One of the managers says they’ve been waiting to work in WeHo for about year. Every month they were told they would open the next month, so they are happy to finally be open today.
Wajntraub acknowledged that a lot has changed in West Hollywood in the past 34 years since he first opened El Pollo Loco just steps away from the West Hollywood city limits. He said he recognizes the issues the recently shuttered Starbucks experienced in their vicinity, but he said he’s feeling hopeful and welcomes the entire West Hollywood community to enjoy some of El Pollo Loco’s signature dishes.
El Pollo Loco West Hollywood is currently having a soft opening, so the hours may be limited at the start. They joined the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and will have a grand opening in roughly two weeks with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Their normal business hours will be 10 a.m. to 11 p.m Monday through Thursday and open till 1 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
El Pollo Loco which is Spanish for “The Crazy Chicken”, is the name of two independent restaurant chains that are controlled by different companies on in Mexico, and the other in the United States. Both companies specialize in Mexican-style grilled chicken and were founded by Juan Francisco Ochoa.
Ochoa established the first restaurant in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico in 1974 and then expanded his chain into the United States in 1980. Ochoa then sold his U.S. restaurants in 1983, which became El Pollo Loco, Inc., while keeping the ones in Mexico, which became El Pollo Loco, S.A. de C.V. Both companies have since occupied non-overlapping global territories and have offered different fare.
The chicken fast food joint has grown in the past four decades with over 480 restaurants across the United States. The closest location to West Hollywood was on 1260 N Vine Street, about three miles away.