Larchmont Bungalow Owner Gets another Court Delay

Bungalowcrowd2
A line forms outside the Larchmont Bungalow when occupancy exceeds 49 people, including staff.

The Larchmont Bungalow scored another delay last week in its continuing efforts to postpone the criminal case filed against it by the city in March of 2010 for operating without a permit. If Bungalow owner, Albert Mizrahi, and his attorney, Alan Fenster, are hoping the city will settle the case, they are wrong. City Attorney Serena Christion said she she has no intention of settling. “This case is far from over,” said Christion. “There is no way we are ever going to dismiss this case; I don’t dismiss cases.”

Over the past several years, the Bungalow legal team has lost two motions they filed with the court seeking dismissal; the first asserting owner Mizrahi had been singled out and was being unfairly prosecuted and the second, that Mizrahi did not understand the covenant he signed with the city agreeing to operate as a take-out with no tables and chairs.

“The city won both of those motions leaving Mr. Mizrahi without a defense,” explained Christion. “They tried to appeal those rulings to a higher court and the court refused to hear the case. Now, it’s time plead it out.”

Larchmont Bungalow in Larchmont VillageChristion won another case she filed against the Bungalow owner when he pleaded guilty to fire code violations for failing to file for a permit with the fire department and overcrowding. The Bungalow is currently on probation and is subject to frequent inspections by the fire department. According to a city inspector, the restaurant has been shut down four times since the three year probation began last year. The Bungalow can only allow 49 people (including staff) inside the restaurant at any time which is why there is often a line outside.

Meanwhile, Bungalow owner Mizrahi has been telling the court he is working with the planning department to bring the Bungalow into compliance negating the basis of the criminal case. But according to Christion, the criminal case is based on his actions in the past. Last March, Mizrahi filed an application with the planning department for a zone change to become a restaurant, a conditional use permit to sell alcohol and a parking variance to use his current 7 parking spots in lieu of the 25 that would be required for a restaurant the size of the Bungalow (2,474 square feet). No action has been taken on the application.

Shortly after the criminal proceedings against Mizrahi began, he filed a civil suit against the city alleging the city improperly revoked his permit. In January of 2012 the court ruled in favor of the city but Mizrahi’s lawyers continue to file motions to the court asking for reconsideration of their arguments. The most recent motion essentially says, ok, we admit to the facts and we lost but dismiss the case because it has no merit anyway. The petition will be heard by the judge on June 16th.

The next date in the criminal case is June 17.

Editor’s Note: This is a corrected version of earlier story that stated maximum occupancy was 39 people.

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

9 thoughts on “Larchmont Bungalow Owner Gets another Court Delay

  1. Albert Mizrahi is the worst and a perfect example of how the very rich abuse the system. It’s so frustrating that he can just tie up our precious court time and tax dollars on this case that should have been handled and closed years and years ago.

  2. Mr. Albert Mizrahi is a scumbag based on his apparent disregard for the rule of law and willful deceit regarding how he planned on using the space. I ceased patronizing the restaurant when the conflict began. Food is not that good anyways.

  3. I have no love for the Bungalow owner, but I must say there seems to be a double standard? The cycling gym lied and said they were only selling and not operating a gym, and no one seems to be taking them to court or shutting them down. And haven’t other new restaurants opened despite the same rules?

    1. Hi Marian – thanks for adding to the conversation! The Flywheel did lie and admitted as much but ultimately went through the planning process and received a zone variance to operate 875 square feet of their space as a cycling gym. There was an opportunity for the community comment in the public planning process. The Flywheel won their variance because the community supported the use as welcome addition to the diversity of businesses on the street.

      As for other new restaurants, I don’t think that there have been any other restaurants that have opened. Perhaps new take outs, like the juicery, etc. but no new restaurants. Pinches Tacos replaced another restaurant that was operating outside the Q Conditions. And Pinches is operating within the Q Conditions as that doc pertains to their space.

      Thanks for your interest! All the best.

  4. Mizrahi’s negative impact on Larchmont has been enormous and goes well beyond his egregious behavior related to the Bungalow. His arrogance and sense of entitlement would be laughable if not for the blight he has caused by forcing out much-loved and useful retail establishments.

  5. Sure seems like a double standard to me. Pinches Taco opened with the claim that it was also a take out restaurant, yet they have tables and chairs and it seems like a regular restaurant to me.

    The Larchmont Bungalow is a great restaurant with excellent HEALTHY food at reasonable prices. No wonder there is a line waiting to get in.

    If the author of this ‘news’ article really loved Larchmont Blvd, her web site would have uplifting articles about what she LOVES about the Boulevard instead of ONLY doing anti-Bungalow articles. The new article replaced that previous one that was there for a year with OLD news about a previous delay.

    Give peace a chance! Try the Larchmont Bungalow.

    1. Hi Sally – Thanks for writing. Pinches has actually made a big effort to comply with the Q Condition. They have very few tables and chairs inside…and whatever they have is meant for taking in a quick meal. I believe they serve all their food in to-go containers and only want a permit to operate as a take out with a few tables and chairs for people to use if they want to eat in. They do not have any wait staff, everyone works behind the counter. Not at all like the Bungalow operation with many tables, wait staff to deliver the food on plates, etc.

      IMO – the story about the Bungalow is factual. It is understood that people love The Bungalow’s food. And it’s a great, thriving business. But for the Boulevard it creates a real dilemma. If the City just let’s this go, then the adage “ask forgiveness, not permission” rules the day. And the years and years of this dragging on is frustrating to all interested parties and only complicates matters.

      OK…back to something a little brighter…have a good weekend:)

  6. I love the Bungalow. I walked there yesterday and decided to have a late lunch. The food and the casual ambiance was wonderful. I didn’t realize we had this gem in our neighborhood.

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