Tinhorn Flats Property Owner Launches Fundraiser to Pay Bills

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The owner of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill site is asking Burbank residents to help her pay for the costs of evicting the restaurant’s operator and overdue property taxes.
Isabelle Lepejian, who is also the former wife of Tinhorn Flats restaurateur Baret Lepejian, launched the online fundraiser recently on a GoFundMe page titled “Tin Horn Flats Left a Big Mess Behind!” On the page, Isabelle Lepejian said she aims to raise $35,000 for expenses associated with the controversial restaurant, which she evicted in June after a months-long feud between her ex-husband and government agencies.
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Tinhorn Flats Property Owner Ponders Next Move

First published in the Sept. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The doors were open, but Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill remained closed for business.
Patrons once again stepped into the dusty, dimly lit bar on Wednesday, but they weren’t there to order drinks. Instead, they trickled in to collect the items on which they had bid: tables, refrigerators, ice machines and other equipment that had been listed for auction. Continue reading “Tinhorn Flats Property Owner Ponders Next Move”

Tinhorn Flats Evicted by Owner’s Ex-Wife

Photo courtesy Jesse Schoem
Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was evicted from the property by the restaurant owner’s former wife — the property owner — on Tuesday, the city of Burbank said.

Restaurants in Burbank and across California experienced the lifting of capacity limits and social distancing requirements on Tuesday morning. Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill wasn’t one of them.

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Tinhorn Flats Evicted from Property

Photo courtesy Jesse Schoem | Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was evicted from the property by the restaurant owner’s former wife — the property owner — on Tuesday, the city of Burbank said.

Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill has been evicted from its site by the property owner — the restaurant owner’s former wife — according to Burbank officials. 

The city said in a news release that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department turned over possession of the building to the property owner, Isabelle Lepejian, today. The ex-wife of Tinhorn Flats owner Baret Lepejian, Isabelle filed an eviction notice against the controversial eatery in mid-May.

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Some Magnolia Park Residents Upset With Tinhorn Flats

Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A woman walking by Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill takes a picture of the restaurant, around which the city built a tall fence to prevent it from being operated until it regains the required permits.

Erik C. Andersen’s most recent visit to Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was in 2019, when his company rented out the restaurant for a mixer. But that event may have marked the last time he’d ever visit.
Tinhorn Flats has been open recently, of course. Its defiance of coronavirus public health orders prohibiting in-person dining, and continued operations despite losing its permits and fighting the city and county in court, have garnered the restaurant national fame. Supporters both local and outside of Burbank have rallied to the eatery’s defense, seeing the city’s efforts to close it as government overreach.

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Judge Confirms Ruling Barring Tinhorn Flats Operations

Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A pair of counter-protestors stands near Tinhorn Flats while police speak with the larger crowd of the restaurant’s supporters. Tensions between the two groups were high, and Burbank police later had the counter-protestors move to the opposite side of the street.

A county judge has ordered a preliminary injunction against Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill, issuing the tentative ruling he made two weeks ago.
The preliminary injunction legally replaces the temporary restraining order the city issued barring Tinhorn Flats from operating since March 8. The injunction, as Judge Mitchell Beckloff noted in his tentative ruling, doesn’t place any new requirements on the restaurant.
Beckloff issued a tentative ruling on March 26 but Tinhorn Flats’ attorneys requested two weeks to meet with the city’s representatives and seek a compromise. None was reached.
“[Tinhorn Flats parent company] Barfly suggests it will suffer grave or irreparable harm from the issuance of a preliminary injunction,” Beckloff wrote in his tentative ruling. “Barfly fails to offer any specific facts or evidence to substantiate its argument. In reality, any harm Barfly has suffered is related to the loss of its health permit and [conditional use permit] after administrative hearings.

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Son of Tinhorn Flats Owner Arrested After Removing Lock

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Lucas Lepejian, the 20-year-old son of longtime Tinhorn Flats owner Baret Lepejian, removes a latch city workers placed on the restaurant’s door on Wednesday. He was arrested Thursday evening on suspicion of violating a court order.

The 20-year-old son of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill owner was arrested Thursday night after removing a city-placed lock from the restaurant’s doors and welcoming patrons inside.
The arrest came just a day after Lucas Lepejian, son of owner Baret Lepejian, sawed off the latch to a crowd of cheering supporters. The restaurant, which has operated without its health and conditional use permits for weeks, was “red-tagged” — or declared unsafe and thereby not legally accessible — on Wednesday. On Thursday, Tinhorn Flats also reported it had removed boards the city had placed to block its doors.

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City Sues Tinhorn Flats, Revokes Permit

Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was open on Tuesday, Feb. 23 — illegally — in light of a City Council decision the night before. But customers filed in all the same.

It wasn’t that they were unaware that the council had revoked the restaurant’s operational permit. Several mentioned it explicitly. Some seemed to see ordering a burger and beer as an act of rebellion against what they saw as government overreach: the issuance of restrictive health orders aimed to slow a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

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County Sues Tinhorn Flats Over COVID-Related Rules

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
The county is asking a court to force Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill to adhere to health orders and pay fines.

Los Angeles County filed a civil complaint against Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill this week, arguing that the restaurant violated COVID-19 health orders.
The complaint, filed Wednesday against Barfly Inc. — which operates Tinhorn Flats — and restaurant owner Baret Lepejian alleges the establishment refused to close its outdoor patio when county and state orders prohibited al fresco dining several weeks ago. The county is asking the court to require the restaurant to adhere to the orders and pay fines for each day it allegedly violated them, as well as attorneys’ fees.

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Tinhorn Flats Missed Compliance Deadline, City Says

A local restaurant failed to show this week that it was complying with a ban on in-person dining, a city spokesman said, meaning the City Council could revoke or suspend the business’ permit next month.
Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill, which has since December operated in open defiance of county and state health orders prohibiting in-person dining, did not provide evidence by a city-imposed Tuesday deadline that it had remedied its violations, public information specialist Jonathan Jones confirmed. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. between the restaurant owner and the City Council, during which the city panel could revoke, suspend or modify Tinhorn Flats’ conditional use permit.

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