Responding to a crowd of more than 200 supporters who gathered Tuesday at the Mar Vista Recreation Center, neighborhood council members lent their voices in support of efforts to stop the eviction of Pepy’s Galley from AMF Mar Vista Lanes.
After 44 years at the corner of Venice and Grand View boulevards, the diner has been ordered out by the end of the month to make way for renovations to the bowling alley, an announcement that prompted a May 25 rally and a “Save Pepy’s Galley” Facebook group with more than 5,300 members.
New owners Bowlmor AMF have said the bowling alley, which plans to launch an in-house food service, needs renovation because it is losing money and that Pepy’s would require $1 million in upgrades to meet current building code requirements. Representatives for the company did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.
“What I want to say tonight is keep Pepy’s. If we can’t keep Pepy’s, keep the employees. If you can’t keep the employees, maybe [Bowlmor AMF] can start the renovations on the bowling alley first and leave Pepy’s open so that it can serve our community a little longer,” said Karen Hernandez Matula, a longtime patron.
The Mar Vista Community Council approved a motion stating that it “strongly encourages all good faith efforts between the new property owners, [local leaders] and Pepy’s Galley to reach a compromise.”
Council Treasurer William Scheding supported the motion but cautioned that the board does not have authority to intervene in what is ultimately a landlord-tenant dispute.
L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who attended the May 25 rally, was on hand Tuesday to swear in new board members.
“While the odds aren’t necessarily in our favor, I think our best message is to show the owners of this company how much this community loves Pepy’s … and let them know that if they decide to modernize and keep the operators who have ties to this community, they will be rewarded by this community showing up and spending their dollars,” Bonin told the crowd.