Fourth-generation restaurateur Harry Morton is bringing his rock and roll-themed Mexican restaurant, Pink Taco, to the Sunset Strip this spring. The opening is one more step Morton is taking in the footsteps of his late grandfather Arnie J. Morton, of Morton’s Steakhouse, and of his father, Peter Morton, of Hard Rock Cafe. (His great-grandfather ran a Chicago restaurant.)
The restaurant will be the third Pink Taco for his West Hollywood company, Harry Morton Holdings. The first opened in Las Vegas in 1999; the second opened in Century City in 2007. Another location in Scottsdale, Ariz., opened but closed.
For the past several months, Morton has poured money into restoring the Sunset Strip building to the shape it had when it opened in 1940 as the Players Club, when it was frequented by such literary luminaries as Dorothy Parker. In the ’60s, the space was an Asian restaurant, and in the late ’80s it became the famous Roxbury nightclub. Most recently, it was Japanese restaurant Miyagi’s.
“There’s a rich heritage in the location, so we’re rebirthing that,” Morton said.
The new Sunset Strip sit-down eatery is the first of at least four locations Morton has planned for Pink Taco. He said a deal for a second Pink Taco in Las Vegas is expected to be inked soon, and that plans are in the works for restaurants in San Diego and Miami.
Morton is also part owner of the Viper Room nightclub in West Hollywood, and most recently, Fukuburger, an Asian-themed burger joint in Hollywood.
The 12,000-square-foot Pink Taco space on Sunset Strip is spread over three levels, with multiple bars and smaller rooms within rooms.
Morton said he bought the lease for the space because the timing was right.
“Our business didn’t change in the economy, and that showed me it was time to expand quicker,” he said. “When other restaurants were down 20 to 35 percent, we stayed strong.”
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