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Guisados Ownership Takes Over George’s, Classic Drive-In Joint in Boyle Heights

7:37 PM PST on November 5, 2018

    [dropcap size=big]G[/dropcap]eorge's Drive-In, a 60-year-old Boyle Heights eatery that had fallen on hard times, has been restored to its original style and menu under its new owners, the De La Torre family. The classic burgers and shakes joint is now owned and managed by the family behind Guisados, a modern classic in its own right.

    It had been part of neighborhood chisme for some time – tiny improvements and a new sign started the chatter – but Monday it became public when Guisados co-owner Armando De La Torre Jr. announced the family's involvement via his Instagram account. De La Torre told L.A. Taco the family was proud to bring back a simplified menu dating back to the times when Cesar Chavez was Brooklyn Avenue.

    "My grandfather, 'Papa', actually owned the property that George's Drive-In is on since back when George's started in the 60s," De La Torre explained. "And it had gone through some tough times after George retired and it switched hands a bunch of times."

    He and chef and general manager – and business partner in this venture – Robert McCord apparently conceived of the project at a Dodgers game in June. "It was sad to see this place that I had grown up going to with my grandfather reduced to what it had become," De La Torre explained. He said that they had gone over one day to find that George's Drive-In was using mostly frozen ingredients, including the hamburgers and pastrami.

    Besides the frozen foods, De La Torre said the menu at George's had ballooned to 64 items and "were suffering financially." That's when he decided to step in with a simplified menu with "no frills" and fresh ingredients.

    "I was like, 'Hey I know a guy who makes his own pastrami,'" De La Torre recalled. "So I talked to Rob and we decided we wanted to bring it back because Boyle Heights deserves just like a good burger place that sells breakfast burritos and pastrami, and just all the good things George's used to be best at. None of that frozen meat stuff."

    Photo courtesy of George's.
    Photo courtesy of George's.

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]fter buying the place from the previous owner, De La Torre said they "stripped it to its bones" and donated about 250 lbs of frozen goods that were there under previous management. "Within 72 hours we had her back open."

    They refurbished the place, including the singange to make give it that retro neon L.A. look. And they brought back the menus with high quality beef and pastrami. "It's a fresh take on an old classic," De La Torre said.

    The place – which De La Torre points out has long been known in neighborhood as "Gerogie's" – had been soft open under new management for a few weeks, according to De La Torre. Hence the neighborhood chatter. "It was a little rough those first two weeks but we got into our groove. And now we are running seven days a week."

    In addition to the burger joint, the De La Torre family has five Guisados taquerias, including the original that opened in Boyle Heights in December of 2010.

    [Updated Nov. 6]

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