The last standing Hamburger Hamlet restaurant is currently closed and under new management. The chain began when actor Harry Lewis and his then girlfriend, Marilyn Friedman, invested just over $3,000 to open the first location on Sunset Boulevard in 1950. The chain grew to 24 locations in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Chicago. The Lewises took Hamburger Hamlet public in 1969 then sold the company in 1987. The origin of the name came from the idea that the owners wanted the restaurants to be a place where actors could hang out and that every actor dreamed of playing the role of “Hamlet.” Locations began to close in 2008 prior to Lewis' death in June 2013. The Van Nuys Boulevard restaurant in Sherman Oaks was the final to close in the chain.
The Beverly Hills and Woodland Hills Kate Mantilini was also part of the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant chain. The Beverly Hills location was opened by Lewis and his wife Friedman in 1980 and was a fixture on Wilshire Boulevard for over 30 years before also closing last month. The restaurant was famous for attracting a celebrity clientele, hosting many movie premiere parties, being featured in the Al Pacino and Robert De Niro sit down scene in the movie “Heat,” and its extensive menu.