1362 Gulf Ave
Wilmington, CA 90744
July 3, 1961
The Wilmington restaurant is a 600 square foot structure, with Wienerschnitzel's signature drive thru built smack dab in the middle of the building, and is a prime example of an early drive-thru and walk-up food window associated with the Los Angeles car culture in the ‘60s.
HCM #1046: Der Wienerschnitzel (1362 Gulf Avenue)
Built in 1961, this restaurant located in Wilmington is the first Der Wienerschnitzel, opened by chain founder John Galardi, in what would became a national chain with 350 locations. It has been in continuous operation since opening and remains largely intact from its original design. The restaurant epitomizes the drive-thru and walk-up architecture popularized in the 1960s that is strongly associated with Los Angeles car culture.
In celebration of Wienerschnitzel's 53rd Anniversary, the hot dog went back to where it all began in 1961 and made a few retro updates to the very first Der Wienerschnitzel location in Wilmington, California. Updates include large photos from Wienerschnitzel beginnings placed along the building as well as a plaque declaring the location a historic landmark by the city of Los Angeles, making it the second fast-food establishment in the city's history to receive the honor. The landmark dedication ceremony will take place on Tuesday, September 16, at 2 p.m. with Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino, members of the Galardi family, and Wienerschnitzel corporate executives in attendance.
J.R. Galardi, 25, the son of late founder, John Galardi, and CEO, Cindy Galardi Culpepper, grew up with Wienerschnitzel, and began working at the corporate headquarters as their father aged. J.R. is motivated by his father's entrepreneurial spirit and has always aspired to be a part of the family business. Together, with Wienerschnitzel's executive team, they are focused on growing the company.
John Galardi, a fast food entrepreneur best known for founding the Wienerschnitzel hot dog chain, died in of pancreatic cancer, at the age of 75 in April 13, 2013.
Galardi opened the first Wienerschnitzel stand in L.A.'s Wilmington neighborhood in 1961 when he was 23, according to a company biography. It's now the world's largest hot dog chain, with 350 locations selling more than a 120 million hot dogs a year.
As his hot dog business took off, Galardi added the Original Hamburger Stand and Tastee Freez to his portfolio, all operated under the Galardi Group, based in Irvine, Calif.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Galardi moved to Southern California when he was 19-years-old and entered the restaurant business working for Taco Bell founder Glen Bell, at Taco Tia in Pasadena, Calif. John Galardi began as an eager entrepreneur determined to make it in the world of fast food. From a single hot dog stand in 1961 to what is now the world's largest hot dog chain with 350 locations and selling more than 120 million hot dogs annually, the Wienerschnitzel brand has become a recognized icon in the fast food world. Galardi is best known for his world-famous, secret-recipe chili that has kept fans coming back for more since day one.
While hamburgers, chicken and tacos were in fierce competition, Galardi carved out his own niche with hot dogs and chili when he opened his first Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant at the age of 23. John Galardi is survived by his wife, Judane, and his four children.
The world's largest hot dog chain serves more than 120 million hot dogs annually and is famous for its delicious proprietary chili recipe. Based in Irvine, Calif., Wienerschnitzel operates or franchises 350 stores in 10 states and Guam.
What Does Historic-Cultural Monument Status Mean?
Provides eligibility for the Mills Act program, providing a Historical Property Contract that can result in a property tax reduction;Fosters civic pride in neighborhoods and business districts and helps develop a sense of place and time.
On August 6, 2013 the Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee designated the very first Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant a Historic-Cultural Monument. The walk-up/drive-through hot dog stand was opened in Wilmington in 1961. Galardi named his restaurant for Vienna's famed breaded veal cutlets. "I was at dinner one night at their house and Bell's wife was looking at a cookbook and said you ought to call it wienerschnitzel. I told my wife going home nobody in their right mind would call a company wienerschnitzel. Three days later, I said, 'Hell, it's better than John's Hot Dogs.'" And a legend was born.
The original location "preceded the signature A-frame design of the chain and epitomized the drive-thru restaurant concept made popular in the 1960s, strongly associated with Los Angeles' car culture."
http://www.preservation.lacity.org/files/January%202014% HCM #1045:
HCM #1046: Der Wienerschnitzel (1362 Gulf Avenue)
Built in 1961, this restaurant located
in Wilmington is the first Der Wienerschnitzel,
opened by chain founder
John Galardi, in what would became a
national chain with 350 locations. It
has been in continuous operation
since opening and remains largely
intact from its original design. The restaurant epitomizes the
drive-thru and walk-up architecture popularized in the 1960s
that is strongly associated with Los Angeles car culture.