The Cat & Fiddle restaurant and pub, the iconic spot on Sunset Boulevard known for its large courtyard patio and musician crowd, will close in December after 32 years in business, Eater LA reported.
According to owner Ashlee Gardner, who owns the restaurant along with mother Paula Gardner, a specific date for the closing has not yet been set.
“Looks like the landlord would prefer a chain to move into this gorgeous building instead of having us here,” Gardner said. “The landlord lives out of town and doesn’t really know Hollywood. He just knows Hollywood is booming and he can get a heck of a lot more money."
Gardner’s mother and father opened the original Cat & Fiddle on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in 1982, then moved the restaurant to Sunset Boulevard in 1985. Over the years, Gardner says her father, Kim, who was part of the British rock invasion of the ‘60s, drew people to the restaurant from the music and entertainment industries. Christopher Lloyd, Drew Barrymore, Morrissey and more celebrities are all regulars.
Gardner claims that the owner of the building, Branch Properties in Atlanta, refuses to renew the restaurant’s current 10-year lease. She said there was no official offer on the table to renew and that she and her mother tried to negotiate with the company, which has owned the building since 2005.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation and we have been dealing with these people for the last year,” Gardner said. “We have been offering to put money in to make necessary remodels -- the building needs a lot of work -- and we’re trying to negotiate but they have been very nonresponsive."
Jesse Shannon, director of acquisitions at Branch Properties declined to talk about what business would replace The Cat & Fiddle but did say the company is looking to put a different operation in the building and renovate the space.
“There is always an opportunity to renew, but they were grossly below market on rent,” Shannon said. “That’s just a function of the market. I don’t want to get demonized by this process. They have been paying less than half of market rent for a long time."
“I’m not in a position to discuss what we are doing there until I’m further along in the process,” Shannon said.
Gardner said she and her mother are looking for other locations in that area but can’t share any specifics at this time.
“This place is so pivotal within the Hollywood industry, but I feel like this area is just so overdeveloped and it’s going in such a weird direction,” she said. “At the end of the day we would prefer to stay here, but that’s not seeming like an option. We can’t compete with chain restaurants with deep pockets."
6530 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 468-3800, www.thecatandfiddle.com
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