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Sun's Owner Fears For Restaurant's Future

"I think I'm going to be out of here," said Sun's owner Phillip Sun. However, a representative for the family could not confirm that the building was on the market.

Sun's Restaurant at 6441 North Figueroa Street has been a fixture in Highland Park for 27-years, but owner Phillip Sun now fears that its future may be in jeopardy.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning will consider a request for zoning variance submitted on behalf of property owner Linda Colburn.

According to Christina Toy-Lee, of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, the area of North Figueroa where Sun's is located was rezoned from C2-1VL, a commercial zoning classification, to RD 1.5-1, a residential zoning type, in October of 2000.

The variance would grant both Sun's Restaurant and the retail building next door exceptions allowing them to continue operating with their current permits.

On the surface, the owner's application seems like something Sun's lovers would want to support, as it would bring the building's zoning type into compliance.

However, Sun told Patch on Tuesday afternoon that he fears the property's owners have plans to sell the building to a developer, and there maybe little he or community supporters can do to stop it.

Sun said that, if property was re-zoned as commercial, the current owners would be free to sell it.

"The family is interested in selling," Sun said. "If it gets transferred to commercial, it's basically a done deal."

The only hope for keeping Sun's in place, he said, would be for the building to maintain its current residential zoning classification, which would forestall any sale.

"If it stays as residential, the buyer might drop off market," he said. "Maybe I can renegotiate with the property owner and get the community involved."

Eddie Navarrette of FE Design, who is listed as Colburn's representative on the notice for Wednesday's public hearing, said he could not confirm that the family was interested in selling the property.

"I think that owners is trying to get some new tenants and they found out that they couldn't do anything until the permits are taken care of," he said. "I think it's more for the bike shop."

Sun told Patch that he won't be attending Wednesday's meeting, and has ultimatley resigned himself to the fact that the property will be sold. He says, if that's the case, he has no plans to relocate.

"I have nowhere else to go," he said.

Sun insisted that he was only going public with his concerns as a way to let the community know that he was willing to fight for the future of his restaurant, which he believes has a positive impact on the community.

"I'm not afraid of going out, but this place won't be the same," Sun said. "I've been here so long, this restaurant is bonded to the community. I had nightmares when I first found out, but now I've moved on. It's not about me, It's about what's best for the community."

In April of 2011, Highland Park Mount Washington Patch food columnist David O'Roscoe listed Sun's among the neighborhood's best restaurants.

"Sun's [...] is a Chinese restaurant like there used to be," he wrote. "They offer real American Chinese food. Chop suey, egg foo yong, sweet and sour pork, egg rolls--all of your favorites are offered here. They also have excellent Chinese dishes. The dining room is friendly and a good place to bring the kids."

Meeting Info:

When: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Los Angeles City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Room 1020

El Cid January 30, 2013 at 03:40 AM
Keep it RESIDENTIAL zoning! The last thing HP needs is a commercial building at an already congested area with Luther Burbank Middle School right across the street! Sadly, the HHPNC board members voted to support its rezoning to commercial building! As crazy as it may sound, the board voted more than 3 or 4 times due to a mismanaged and poorly worded motion! Each outcome was different from the previous one! HP needs to get on the Land Use Committee and HHPNC board to rectify this decision. Furthermore, the board members need to be well-informed of motions before VOTING! Otherwise, send it to committees for fact finding information and recommendations!
Ish January 30, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Sad to hear. I love Sun's. Regardless of the outcome, I hope the stay in business and open up shop elsewhere, if need be.
vid January 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Suns is a historical land mark when it comes to Chinese food. I mean I really love the food there. Mongolian chicken , spicy entrees served like no other place in town. I hope things work out and the owners of the building sway from selling.
krd January 30, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Just my experience, so please be kind, but I got food poisoning here...twice. I liked the food so much because it really is good and figured the first time was probably a fluke so I went back. Stomach cramps and trotskies...again. I kinda couldn't believe it. I thought maybe the deshelved, somewhat nasty exterior (and let's be honest...it's pretty funky) might be reflecting what's happening in the kitchen, so I've never been back. I drive by and Sun's always has an "A" rating and people really seem to love it and it IS the only place of its kind in the area, but I can't!! Sicken me once, shame on you. Sicken me twice...
krd January 30, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Maybe I'll go back...it's been a few years. But the runs from Sun's when you're done is no fun!!
La vie en rose January 30, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Agree with KRD,been there once...nothing memorable about food, only memory of it was.....funky!...did not get sick though.lol!
Nimby pimp January 30, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I went once. That was a mistake.
Natalie January 30, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Affordable, tasty and friendly! I have eaten there many times as have many of the faculty at Franklin High School. Would HATE to see them go!!!
MR STRICKLAND January 30, 2013 at 05:09 PM
agree with krd. went there once and that wuz it. nothing special about food the day i went with my family. didnt get sick but food almost tazted old. i dont no bout it being a historical landmark. if they do stay.. need to get new cook or something
Rob Hanson January 30, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I've only had good experiences at Sun's and will be sad to see it go. I agree with the city in leaving it as commercial. Its got adequate on site parking and a street that busy is hardly ideal for residential living. Hopefully it will be replaced by another restaurant possibly with a cuisine type we don't currently have here.
Nimby pimp January 30, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Some of the vegetable they served on my plate were historic landmarks!
El Cid January 30, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Rob----in 2000 the area was re-zoned to residential. It is currently zoned for residential. It allows current businesses to coexist in a residential zone. The owner would like to see it re-zoned to commercial. There is concern that the owner plans to sell for commercial development.
MR STRICKLAND January 30, 2013 at 06:14 PM
nimby? your vegetables were his. landmarks??? forreals??? lol ok...
MR STRICKLAND January 30, 2013 at 06:14 PM
!!!!!!!;-)
Rev M G Martinez, ULC January 30, 2013 at 09:17 PM
CBF, "they have usually made sound decisions in the past." The 'they' you refer to are not 'these'. That is, this is a new board. A good number are seated on the basis of factual based votes. People from outside the area coming in and being allowed to vote in our local neighborhood election, simply because the have a shopping reciept. Without those votes, newcomers, unfamilar with the area (You recall the night of the vote in question, the few members present had no idea what Sun's was, or where it was. That was MOST disconcerting). would not be on the board, and some without the benefit of those votes would have been elected. Be that as it may, there is an effort being made to disqualify so called Factual Based Votes from the next election. Interesting side note, the HHPNC appointed Harvey Slater to the seat vacated by Tom Williams. Mr. Slater, as some may recall, ran as an openly gay candidate last time, and lost. His friends on the council appointed him to this elected position. There was no real outreach, or effort made to find the best suitable candidate. To my knowledge, no notification of the vacancy was publisized, no other candidates were givin the oppertunityn to apply.It would appear this was a done deal accompliashed outside the view of the public, before the vote to appoint was even taken.That would be a very serious violation of The Brown Act, of course.Re: Sun's, the bottem line is the issue should have been refered to Land Use.Tom resigned because it wasn't.
Inez January 30, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Say it isn't so! It would be a shame if the Sun closed. The food is really tasty. I've been going there as long as it's been open. I noticed the Public hearing notice the last time I went. It was worded in such an obscure way, I couldn't even tell what it was about! I also noticed that he was talking to a lady who was taking notes. I was curious as to what it was about. It must have been for this article!
Nimby pimp January 30, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Strickland - Just a little egg roll humor, son. You hear about the new Chinese/German restaurant? Thirty minutes after you eat, you are hungry for power.
ChickenBoyFan January 31, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Don't let the sun set on Suns
Elizabeth Ramirez January 31, 2013 at 01:03 AM
I was there today at the hearing and the Associate Zoning Administrator could not understand why they had changed the zoning in 2000 from a commercial C-2 to a residential RD1. It was stated that Sun's is loved and well appreciated by many of Highland Park patrons. Facebook followers had sent over 200 emails and phone calls to the Zoning Dept. voicing their concerns over the fate of Sun's Rest. Numerous patrons also had their chance to publicly voice their opinion in front of the Administrator and everyone was praising the impact that Sun's Rest. is a family oriented establishment that has been in the community for over 30 + years. The Highland Park Historical Society and Councilman Huizar's office all showed up to show their support also. The Assoc. Zoning Administrator granted the zone variance to Retail use. Which means that Sun's Rest. will continue to run as a business, since they have a certificate of occupancy there for last 30 years. There was a Real Estate agent named "Kirk" who stated that the property was in escrow. So Sun's fate is still up in the air...whomever buys the
Elizabeth Ramirez January 31, 2013 at 01:05 AM
property has the option to offer a lease to Sun's or ask them to leave and put some other type of restaurant in its place. Only time will tell....lol
El Cid January 31, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Just for clarification - Who is the Highland Park Historical Society? Do you mean the Highland Park Heritage Trust? Who did CD 14 show support for? For the property owner or for Sun's Restaurant? From what I'm gathering the property was in escrow just awaiting to hear the outcome of the variance. Therefore, Sun's future isn't looking sunny at the moment! Time will tell if the property owner and representative who appeared before the HHPNC presented false statements!
Elizabeth Ramirez January 31, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Yes! The lady who showed up said she was from the Highland Park Historical Society. She said that they had no opposition regarding Sun's Rest. and that she had been a patron for many years and wanted to secure that Sun's would continue being a restaurant here in Highland Park. She was backing up Phillip Sun the owner of Sun's Rest. The property owner Linda Colburn and the real estate agent Kirk were very shady and yes they did lie. Because the property is in escrow...that came out in the hearing. Phillip Sun feels that the property will be sold and he will be evicted so that they can put a high-end yuppie restaurant. So we will have to wait to see who purchases the property and what they will do....
MR STRICKLAND January 31, 2013 at 02:55 PM
lol thats a good one nimby ;-)
Albert Mason January 31, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I had some take out about14 years ago and the egg drop soup had a small cockroach in it. Never been back since. I used to eat at an Indian restaurant on Sunset and saw a huge rat coming down a pole while my wife and I were eating, never been back since. I know how greedy landlords can be and I hope the owner of Sun's will be o.k. I wish him good luck. Regular weekly pest control is crucial for any restaurant as well as fresh ingredients. Maybe Chef Ramsay can come by and help him out. He did it for the Capri in Eagle Rock a few months back. Good luck Mr. Sun.
Manijeh Nava February 08, 2013 at 01:04 AM
going to try it for the first time tonight!! I combed the internet for the best old style chinese food in the Northeast L.A. area --- this is what I came up with. I used to love Lee's Kitchen in Eagle Rock, but they retired many years ago & I've been sad ever since.
Elizabeth Ramirez March 17, 2013 at 02:54 AM
It is a sad day.....Sun's property has been bought by a development co. Sun's will be fazed out and closed in the next couple of months. They have told Sun's owner Phillip that they are not extending him any type of lease and that they want the restaurant so they can put a more upbeat trendy place. Oh well so much for sentiment and memories....it just really sucks that people don't care anymore for family owned businesses and the hard work of blood, sweat & tears to maintain for over 30+ years. I will truly miss Phillip, Sun's staff and the family atmosphere we have all once shared there.

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