Editor’s Note: This story originally ran Nov. 14. It is republished here as part of our year-end coverage.
The City of Santa Monica announced Nov. 14 that it settled a complaint against the McDonald’s on 2nd Street, which has become a hotbed for crime over the past two years.
Most McDonald’s stay open 24 hours a day, including the one downtown. But locals will no longer be able to buy Big Macs between 12 and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday or between 2 and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, an administrative hearing officer ruled.
“Calls for service and disruptive activities at McDonald’s have been greater than at any other business in Santa Monica, including other 24-hour fast food restaurants,” said Erika Aklufi, a Santa Monica Police Department sergeant. “The restaurant’s operations created an unacceptable drain on police resources.”
SMPD received 847 calls for service to the McDonald’s in 2017 and 657 in the first half of 2018 alone, Aklufi said.
Residents may remember a July 2017 fight between a few people and a security guard at around 5 a.m. that was widely reported in local media. A video showed a security guard asking people who were drinking beer inside the restaurant but had not ordered food to leave. One of the men started repeatedly punching the security guard and another man hit them with a chair to try to break up the fight.
The police department and the City’s Code Enforcement Division administratively charged Nicholas Lardas and Lardas Management Inc., who own and operate the McDonald’s, and RBE 1540 Second Street LLC, which owns the property, for maintaining a public nuisance and initiated a week-long administrative trial.
In addition to ceasing 24-hour service, the hearing officer required the restaurant close the alley gate to its parking garage between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and the gate accessible from 2nd Street between 12 and 6 a.m. McDonald’s will also have to relocate its soda fountain behind the cashier counter to prevent people from stealing soda and pay administrative citation fines.
The hearing officer may adjust the opening hours in the future if the restaurant maintains decorum. If the McDonald’s sees a 50 percent reduction in calls to SMPD for service by April 15, 2019, it may resume 24-hour service.