Bernard’s Burgers has served South Central Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods for 52 years.
The current owner, 69-year-old Nathan Murray, said the business will close its doors for good due to both the coronavirus shutdowns and his retiring age.
Murray told L.A. Taco that he would have been forced to close in March when stay-at-home orders were enacted in Los Angeles but customers kept his doors open.
“I didn’t get a small businessman loan. Y’all were my stimulus check,” Murray said emotionally a couple of days before he was set to close.
Bernard’s Burgers was established in 1958 by retired Navy cook Herman Matfield.
It was then turned over to Octane Bernard, who eventually became a father figure to Mr. Murray.
Murray became the third owner of Bernard’s Burger after Bernard sold it to him for $500 in 1999. He did not change the original business name and as a result, people in the community started to call him Bernard.
And while various people have expressed their interest in taking over the property to continue the legacy of Bernard’s Burgers, Murray confirmed that he is retiring the name. He also revealed that the future of Bernard’s Burgers property will be left to the owners.
Many in this community have expressed both their disappointment and anger that the closing of Bernard’s Burgers is one more thing the Black community is losing that identifies their presence in Los Angeles.
“This is the best hamburger place in Los Angeles and we are losing the last of the mom-and-pop burger spots we used to have,” Greg Shepard told L.A. Taco.