My mother loved seafood. She was happiest being able to each lobster and shrimp in a restaurant with nice booths, where she could sip her bourbon. When I was growing up, one of our favorite places to do this was the “Hungry Tiger” Restaurant, down on Sepulveda just S of Dinahs, right near where Centinela and Sepulveda meet. This was your typical 1960s dining establishment: steak, seafood (including fresh Maine lobster), chicken. It was opened by the fellows that used to run the Flying Tigers.
This memory was brought back today when I read the Daily News article about the retirement of Wally Hollenstein. On Jan. 1, 1962, the owners of the beleaguered Hungry Tiger restaurant in Sherman Oaks asked him to take over its management after going through three managers, firing a drunken chef and finding very little money in the cash register following a busy New Year’s Eve. Within a few months it was a rip-roaring success and the thankful owners, executives and pilots of the Flying Tigers freight airline, were ready to open more Hungry Tigers (including the one in Westchester, which I remember). Seven more Hungry Tigers were successfully opened under Hollenstein’s direction until 1972, when he resigned as president, cashed in his stock and bought the Calabasas Inn. The Hungry Tiger chain grew to 40 locations before it was sold and dismantled. Hollenstein and his family operated the Calabasas Inn as a public restaurant until 1989, when he turned it strictly into a private catering facility. At the end of this year, Hollenstein retires.
It’s interesting what dredges up memories….