Former chef takes over Rick’s Burgers till housing project construction starts
By Rebecca Kuzins 09/29/2011
The name has changed, but the newly opened Bobby’s Place, located at El Molino Avenue and Walnut Street in the former home of Rick’s Burgers, continues serving “spuderitos” and other items that made Rick’s a favorite fast-food drive-in.
Bobby Ramirez, who managed Rick’s for the past 15 years, took over the restaurant last month, acquiring it from owner Ralph Fonzo. Ramirez changed the eatery’s name to Bobby’s Place, but he has maintained its menu and prices.
However, Ramirez will soon be forced to leave — as Fonzo was — after construction begins on a new housing project slated for that corner. In 2006, Trammell Crow Residential, a developer specializing in multifamily housing, proposed construction of a condominium project. That would also include several retail outlets. The plan called for the demolition of Rick’s and four adjacent buildings. However, the developer backed out of the project after the 2008 recession.
More recently, the property’s owners have proposed the construction of another mixed-use development of 82 condominiums and ground-floor retail outlets. That project would also necessitate the demolition of Bobby’s Place and adjacent buildings.
Pasadena Planning Division staffer Mark Odell, case manager for the proposed development, said city officials are working with architects to revise the project’s design before it can be approved by the Design Commission. After approval is given, the owners will have to apply for a building permit, which could take a year to obtain.
By then, Ramirez plans to find a permanent location for Bobby’s Place.
But for now, diners can continue enjoying the spuderito (a burrito that includes French fries) and the other items available at the former Rick’s Burgers