SM CANYON — Patrick’s Roadhouse, the landmark diner on Pacific Coast Highway that in recent months has faced closure after its owner received an eviction notice, is keeping its doors open — at least for one more year.
The restaurant’s owner, Anthony Fischler, was caught off guard last November when he was told to vacate the property within 30 days and went to court to contest the eviction. The property’s landlord, Lee Benchay, had apparently become disgruntled on a couple of scores — including a subpoena he received related to Fischler’s divorce — and wanted the restaurant off his prime seaside real estate.
The two sides , though, have agreed to a settlement that will let the restaurant — known for its lime-green facade, quirky decor and celebrity clientele — remain in business through January of next year, Duane Hall, a lawyer for Benchay said. The deal requires Fischler to pay more rent and avoid involving his landlord in his personal life.
“I can’t blame [him] for that. To be frank with you, I don’t want to be involved in my personal life,” Fischler said.
He said he was thrilled with the arrangement and hopes the extra time will allow him to negotiate a more permanent lease for the restaurant.
“Nobody wants to see this big green icon leave the planet,” he said.
“At this point there’s not much profit in it, but the property will remain open at least through the end of the year and hopefully a lot longer.”
Hall said the settlement reached this month requires Fischler to leave at the end of the term, but he left open the possibility of an extension.
“They can always re-negotiate. There’s nothing saying that this is chiseled in granite,” Hall said.
Started by Fischler’s father in 1974, the Roadhouse is popular among Santa Monica Canyon locals and tourists alike. The food at Patrick’s is ordinary diner fare, but the restaurant has benefited from media attention over the years because of its unique look and celebrity cachet. Bill Clinton has paid a visit, Arnold Schwarzenegger has an honorary chair and actor Josh Brolin is among the regulars. It was recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times and featured in an episode of the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” The decor is a mix of memorabilia that one patron described as “Irish pub meets pirate ship.”
Even if the restaurant is forced to close a year from now, Fischler said he’s relieved the establishment, which he considers to be his father’s legacy, will have enough time for a proper closing.
“We’ll throw a big party and all of Santa Monica can come and say goodbye,” he said.