Swan Song for Tail O’ the Cock--Shops to Replace Restaurant

Times Staff Writer

Tail O’ the Cock closed for good late Saturday night.

The Studio City restaurant, one of the San Fernando Valley’s first upscale eateries and once a hangout for Hollywood celebrities, is to be razed for a shopping center.

Herbert M. Piken, a Studio City developer, last summer bought the English country-style restaurant from longtime owner Sheldon A. (Mac) McHenry for an undisclosed price.

McHenry once owned another Tail O’ the Cock on La Cienega Boulevard’s Restaurant Row. He sold that restaurant in 1982, and it was closed in February, 1985.


During its heyday, the Studio City restaurant was frequently the place where stars took their lunch breaks while working on pictures at nearby studios. Celebrities who have eaten at the restaurant, according to employees, include Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Robert Kennedy.

Plans Told Last Fall

Plans to close the 40-year-old restaurant at Ventura Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue were first disclosed last fall, although employees said they were not told the exact date until a notice was posted Friday. Although the closing was expected, they said it still came as surprise.

“I feel like there’s been a death in my family,” said Justine Visone, a cocktail waitress at the restaurant for more than 10 years.

Piken, who was in Mexico this weekend and could not be reached for comment, has said that the restaurant did a good business but that the property could produce more profit if a shopping center were built on it.

Bartender John Cleary, 67, who worked 37 years at the Studio City and La Cienega restaurants, said his plans are uncertain.

“I’ll probably go to work somewhere else, but I really don’t know. When you’ve been with someone this long, it feels like you’re part of its family,” he said.