A sign of charbroiled architecture recycled for new East L.A. store

Before and after photos of Jim's Burger signs. Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera

After years of work, preservationists and a developer finally agreed to a deal to reuse the former Golden Gate Theatre in East Los Angeles as a CVS pharmacy.  But who knew that preserving the 1927 Spanish Churrigueresque-style landmark would also include the recycling of a classic midcentury burger stand sign located next door?  The Jim’s Burger – one of those ubiquitous  restaurants named after Jim, Rick, Tom, etc – that once sold “char-broiled” burgers and pastrami sandwiches was demolished as part of the new retail CVS project at  Whittier and Atlantic boulevards. But, somehow, the Jim’s Burger sign facing Atlantic Boulevard was salvaged and remade into a new sign promoting the upcoming CVS/Pharmacy drive-thru.  A spokeswoman for the L.A. Conservancy said the preserving the sign was part of the agreement struck with the developer, Charles Co., but wasn’t required.

East Los Angeles resident C.J. Salgado  said that using the Jim’s Burger sign to draw attention to the former Golden Gate Theatre – a national  historic landmark – seems a bit ironic.  “The historic theater is entering new life with a sign that is reminiscent of something out of the futuristic “Jetsons” cartoons of 1960s.”

P.S.: Fans of charbroiled burgers and Jetsons-like signage should head to the Jim’s Burger in Boyle Heights at First Street and State streets.


  1. Fantastic!

  2. I applaud CVS for even entertaining the idea. I dig the new sign!

  3. Didn’t know there was a Jims out here! There is still one in Altadena with the same, albeit much more run down, sign at 2185 Lincoln Ave. Where there many of these originally?

  4. I drove by the Golden Gate Theatre to see the parking lot under construction. Not sure when the building will reopen, but I am interested in seeing how the developer preserves the building for future reuse as well. The sign however is absolutely a gem.

    Thank you to those who worked with the developer to make it happen, including the Los Angeles Conservancy.

    But this prompts the question I keep asking myself every time the Los Angeles Conservancy is acknowledged publicly for its advocacy work: Why has the Los Angeles Conservancy done literally nothing to demand that the Autry Museum restore the Southwest Museum and use it to exhibit portions of its collections at its National Register site in Highland Park?

    Incredible rebirth is literally exploding in the Highland Park area. The restoration of Craftsman treasures in Northeast Los Angeles is ongoing as house flippers and others who care about preserving the historic treasures in this area flood into the area. The opening of a variety of new businesses in the Figueroa and York Boulevard corridors is very exciting. There is all of this energy, and yet the Los Angeles Conservancy remains silent, uncomfortably silent, on one of the most important preservation issues of our time.

    More people should be asking the Conservancy to take action to demand the Autry stop trying to simply abandon the City’s first Museum — a National Register treasure. Working with developers to preserve the facade of the Golden State Theatre is admirable, but why has the Los Angeles Conservancy bungled this huge issue? Just asking.

  5. How creative. I remember going to Jim’s for their pastrami sandwiches after a cruise up and down Whittier Blvd. back in the day.

  6. I found that there is still some of these sing remaining through the neighborhood. 1901 e First street Los Angeles, CA 90033. In the corner of first street and State Street.

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