The Hungry Tiger

The Hungry Tiger was a chain of seafood restaurants around Southern California.  At one point, there were forty-one of them, including one in Westwood Village, another one on Sepulveda near LAX, and yet another on La Brea just South of Hollywood Boulevard.  Those were the ones I went to, and I’m not sure why because I never particularly liked the food at them and insofar as I could tell, neither did anyone else.  The secret of their success seemed to be location, location, location.  They were the only “nice” places to take a date or client in certain areas.  For instance, if you picked up someone at the airport and drove south, the Hungry Tiger on Sepulveda was the first “decent” place to dine you encountered.  They got a lot of post-funeral traffic from the nearby Hillside Memorial Park, too.

The chain was started in 1962 by, the story goes, a group of former Flying Tigers’ combat pilots.  Some of the first outlets resembled hangars more than restaurants and all were decorated with photos of old planes and aviators.  I’m not sure many patrons understood the connection.

In the early eighties, business fell off substantially, apparently due to an influx of strong competitors into the marketplace.  The Hungry Tiger chain needed to remodel and upgrade but lacked the funds to do this so in 1985, a new management team was brought in, some of the less profitable outlets were closed and a general relaunch was attempted.  It failed to turn around public abandonment of the eateries so in the years following, most of them closed and a few went independent.  There are still Hungry Tiger restaurants around but not as part of a large chain.

The last time I was in one, it was the one in Westwood.  This would have been around 1980.  My date and I were going to a play at the Westwood Playhouse and with parking being as difficult and expensive as it was up there, it seemed logical to dine at the Hungry Tiger that was in the same block as the theater.  We could park once for both, get validated at the restaurant and…well, you get the idea.

We both ordered the broiled shrimp and when it came, it turned out to be the kind served in the shell…not my favorite way of having shrimp.  When they serve it that way, you always seem to spend forever digging the meat out and there isn’t very much of it.  These had almost none.  My lady friend and I were amazed at how little edible shrimp flesh you got in a serving of Hungry Tiger broiled shrimp.  It was barely one mouthful.  We mentioned this to our server who called over a manager who basically told us, “That’s our broiled shrimp.  If you didn’t get enough to eat, order something else and pay for an additional entree, heh heh.” Those weren’t the precise words he used but they were close.  There was definitely no concern that we weren’t happy with our meals.  We would have done what he suggested if there had been time before the play, except that (of course) we would have done it at another restaurant.

After the play, we decided to go somewhere and actually eat, rationalizing that at least the hefty tab I’d played at the Hungry Tiger had gotten us our parking at a discount.  It turned out that despite the posted signs, the lot no longer honored Hungry Tiger validations and I had to pay full price to get out.  The next day, I wasted about an hour calling the restaurant and the corporate offices of Hungry Tiger to complain.  The attitude I encountered was along the lines of “If you don’t like it, eat somewhere else.”  Thereafter, I did…and wasn’t surprised that so many other people did, as well.  Beware any business that names itself after a voracious predator.

148 Responses to The Hungry Tiger

  • Adrienne M says:

    I worked at several of the Hungry Tigers in the 70’s.
    One was in Hollywood in the Muir building. Then I also would go to Newport Beach and the one in the North Hollywood/Sherman Zoaks area. They had the best Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino in the world! Their shrimp was awesome, too!


    I was a manager at the Sherman Oaks Hungry Tiger in the early 80’s, after spending time at Breaker’s Seafood Co. – one of the corp’s brands.
    The Sherman Oaks location was indeed the 1st in the chain, and was founded by ex Flying Tiger airmen and the founders of Flying Tiger Line air cargo, principally Bob Prescott.
    The G.M was Hayden Fleming, a lovely Brit was was loved by customers and staff alike.
    We had servers who had been there a LONG time, such as Joe Mucciolo, a WWII vet who had been a waist gunner on a B-17.
    The oyster bar was very well regarded, and manned by Marcos and Joel, who had a VERY loyal following.
    The restaurant was old school – big leatherette booths and a busy bar. We enjoyed a lot of celebrity and industry clients.
    An anomaly at the time, we were a union restaurant, and the union offices were upstairs!
    After rapid growth and diversification into other restaurant conceptsin the late 70’s and early 80’s , the mid 80’s were the beginning of the end, sadly. They were bought and crisis management was brought in, but it fizzled out not long after I left.
    Thanks for the memories, friends!!

  • John S. says:

    I was a Manager & Regional Manager for Hungry Tiger in the 1980’s. Started to work for them in 1978 as a bartender at the West Covina location. Then managed Pasadena & Santa Ana (South Coast Village). Became a regional manager in 1981. I had Pasadena, West Covina, Buena Park, Tustin, Santa Ana, Corona Del Mar, Sacramento & Reno in my area. Later had Houston, Reno, L.A.Music Center Hungry Tiger, Palos Verdes, Hollywood…..A great time in the restaurant business. I have all the recipe books. That delicious clam chowder and all those Oyster Bar items, including the “Doby’s Delight” were to die for………….

  • Lisa Winn says:

    Does anyone have the recipe for the house salad dressing? It was incredible!!

  • Carlos Torres says:

    Hello my name is Carlos I am writing to you because I Would like to know if you have any lapel pins key chains or collectibles or merchandise from hungry tiger Carlos Torres 1133portland place apt.222 boulder Colorado 80304

  • Perry says:

    Hungry Tiger was one of our favorite eateries in L. A. Their Oyster Bar was a phenomenon, the one in La Brea, with fantasist lobster tail cocktails, for only $4.00 and so was their clam chowder. I/we had eaten both in Marina Del Ray and the one in West wood, but none could even come close to the La Brea one. I still miss this place!!!

  • John Maciejewski says:

    There is a Hungry Tiger in Yokohama Japan that I visited in 1977 that was fantastic. It is still there and still very popular. Every time I visit Japan I go there and have a Steak. Too bad we don’t have any over here in SoCal.

  • Jesse Fragoso says:

    I believe the Doby’s Delight ingredients were Crab, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms. green onions,butter,white wine,garlic,tabasco,worcestershire sauce,lemon ,I worked at the Westwood location from ’77 until it closed on Dec ’87 that was my favorite dish is great to read all this comments it brings back great memories. I wish I was still working there

  • Bob bauer says:

    Correction studio city

  • Bob bauer says:

    I was the chef at the hungry tiger in Woodland Hills back around 82
    After the summer house took over. Still had the oyster bar
    Plenty of famous people

  • Mercy Baron says:

    I was a server at the HT back in the 70’s in the Hollywood and then the Woodland Hills location on Ventura Blvd. I remember the Oyster Bar…wow, that was good food. The regular menu, not so much. I waited on Cher and Gene Simmons when they were going out together. Since the place was on La Brea and Hollywood Blvd, we got a lot of pimps coming in with their girls to have lunch. Wow, they were cheap about leaving tips! We wore these floor length shiny brown, wrap around dresses. I’m sure we went through several mgrs, but I remember the nicest one was Renee. Somewhere along the line I got fired for having a purple henna in my hair! I then went to work at the Velvet Turtle in Woodland Hills.

  • Jackie says:

    I was 1/3 my age of now when I went to a Hungry Tiger Restaurant on the west coast. This week I was downsizing my collection of “stuff” and found a glass with the writing and a Tiger at the bottom of the glass. What a suprise to me!

  • joe sampietro says:

    Jim H says:
    Hi read your posst in my search for info on Dobie and especially Dobies Delight. I see you have the same desire to know the recipe it was a fantastic dish and he would serve it to you with a French role and butter . He always had on his chef pants of black and white squares as I recall and a white jacket.
    I and a few of my friends would like to know so if you have made any progress could you forward it and if I find more out about it I will revist this site and post it.I see that some one else thought the white sauce was mayonasie based called a moilier what ever that is.

  • joe sampietro says:

    Aggie Purcell
    Hi I read your post re being trained at the Hungry Tiger.
    Do you know by chance what Dobie’s last name was? Did you ever work with Al Vicens at the one in Studio City? He was a good friend of mine. He passed away in the 90’s. Also wanted to know if Dobie is still around or has someone managed to keep his Dobies Delight receipe?

  • joe sampietro says:

    roger hoffman
    do you remember Dobies last name and if he might still be around?
    While you were the head bartender there and probably served me and others from Huhes tool company and RPM Industries (Robert McCoulch) .
    I too have found memories of his Dobies Delight and while eating at Dinahs the other day we started to discuss the Hungry Tigers and especially the one on Sepulveda. you may have known and worked with a good friend of mine Al Vicens who was the oldest waiter and worked mostly in the studio city hungry Tiger.
    Any chance you know what all went into Dobies delight?

  • Dan says:

    I proposed to my wife in 1980 at a Hungry Tiger. We married in 1981 and are now married more than 35 years. It doesn’t seem that long!

  • Sherri Hurst says:

    My mother would take me to the Hungry Tiger in 1974 by the LA aorport. We ate their whole maine lobster! I have never had a lobster as good since then….great food and good memories!

  • Gary Spencer says:

    I was working valet at the Culver City location after a Laker game. I was alone and the place got slammed, cars up in a row on Sepulveda. No park yourself. As the cars started honking their horns I attempted to back-up and swing around. Forgot about the pillar on the enclosed drive through. Took out the front end of some poor guys rental car not to mention a huge ding on the pillar. I was told either pay for the damages or get fired. Well at 16 I didn’t have the funds for both, so I left for Manhattan Beach, then worked for Buzz’s Golden Nugget in El Segundo for the next few years.

  • Michael L says:

    Mark, this is a great list of restaurants. By the way, a couple of other good restaurant chains that’re no longer around, that you may want to add to this list, are the Velvet Turtle and Lum’s.



  • ZP says:

    I used to drink there underage with a fake ID after my shifts as a server at the Hamburger Hamlet in Westwood, my first restaurant gig. Those were the days, although I was living in a haze most of the time.

  • Bobby P says:

    I have a stock Certificate for 5 shares of Hungry Tiger that was given to me in Dec of 82 any one know if its worth anything? I think they were bought out by another chain

  • RICK says:


  • Tammy Andrew says:

    Roger Hoffman! Do you remember the manager, Mike? He was an English gentlemen that managed there for years. My dad, Danny Andrew was the musician there for 11 years. He sang and played the piano. Many great memories, birthdays, graduations, and all. There was a waitress there named Heidi that was amazing! Also the bartender, Cesar, was like a godfather to me. My dad passed away suddenly in 1987. I love to go down memory lane, it makes me feel close to him.

  • Aggie Purcell says:

    Leaving for LA tomorrow wondering if the Hungry Tiger was still open near marina del ray. I was one of the first to work there in 73. They put us through training to become a fine waitress and then came the uniform. Long skirts with splits up the sides and light purple bodysuits!! It was a great place to work then at night I would hostess for them. So does anyone know if it’s still there Would love to see it if it is it’s been about thirty years since I have been in LA

  • Janice says:

    I too have fond memories of going to the Hungry Tiger in the 70’s. We would walk over from UCLA and have a wine break before attending afternoon classes and if we were flush with cash you could not beat it for a lazy two hour lunch. I also used to go to the one on La Brea. Tommy, the bartender would serve my scotch in something with a stem because ladies did not drink from shot glasses. I loved eating at the oyster bar where the cook would always greet my date saying “hello Tom” even though his name was William. I once inquired about the white sauce and was told it was Molier made with a mayonnaise base.

  • Jim H says:

    Was also searching for the recipe for Dobies Delight. In the early 70’s would go to the Hungry Tiger near LAX and the Hughes Aircraft Plant. Remember some ingredients ie. shrimp, lobster, crab, green onions, mushrooms, white wine but also a white sauce that I don’t know what it was.

  • Fred Stratton says:

    I remember the Hungry Tiger in the Los Feliz area in the 1970’s: awesome place! Great food and great fun!

  • Konstanze Schuenemann says:

    Does anyone remember the name of the fish soup served in the 1980’s at Hungry Tigers.

  • Deborah Kerr Cathey says:

    My younger sister used to work at one of the Hungry Tiger locations. Her name was Mary Kerr. She passed away in 2013 from lymphomic edema and an infection. My husband and I are visiting out here. I wondered if anyone remembered her from the 80s? Her location closed and she moved to Montana. She was a fantastic cook.

  • Karen Sarames says:

    My father took me to Rene’s French Cuisine on Ventura Blvd. for my 14th birthday, back in the 1970s. It was one of my father’s favorite restaurants. It’s long gone.

  • May says:

    My best friend and roommate and I used to go to the Hollywood and La Brea one and slurp on Oysters on the Half Shell and white wine (and smoke cigarettes) and listen to “Melissa and Marsha”.

  • Taolkalon says:

    I am French and I was in California around 1980 and today in my attic I found about fifty publicity of hôtels and restaurants matches safe. The hungry tiger, Rene’s French cuisine Woodland Hills, Joy of tempura, Le sanglier, Ma maison on Melrose, Bob Burns, Chart House etc…. Many souvenirs and a lot of nostalgia. Many of them disappeared.

  • Lynn says:

    Does anyone have the recipe for Dobie’s Delight? They served it at the Rolling hills location and it’s a seafood dish.

  • Lenita says:

    The Hungry Tiger in Rolling Hills was kitty corner to Rolling Hills High School. Which is now Peninsula High School. I also remember Drydale’s Dugout. Was it in Newport Beach?

  • Louise S says:

    The Hungry Tiger, many ,many family events including birthdays,anniversaries etc. were spent at the one next to Dinah’s restaurant. I would go into the seafood store in the back to buy fresh flown in that day iAlaskan king crab legs for a special home cook treat. I remember they had I’ve music in the bar area. Great memories . Wish they were still there. Now in its place is a extended stay motel. Sad

  • jonathan says:

    My dad parked cars at the Hollywood location. He ended up being a hot rod mechanic amd built the general Lee’s for dukes of Hazzard. I have a pic of my dad sitting on the hood of his 63 impala inside the parking structure. Too bad I can’t post it. . .

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Renee ,

    If you are REALLY all that interested, you should take some time and scroll back to the very beginning. It will not be that difficult for you as there are only 63 comments here and I guarantee you will discover an answer to your query. Why not treat yourself and learn something today.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Renee says:

    Was there a hungry tiger in Rolling Hills Est?

  • Curtis Lofgren says:

    By the way, their fresh seafood was for real. They would fly in a minimum of ten fish a day. It was probably things like that which brought the corporation to its knees, but the food at the Westwood location was very good. You wouldn’t have the stars keep showing up there if it wasn’t….too much completion, you know, Westwood and all…..

  • Curtis Lofgren says:

    I worked at the Hungry Tiger in Westwood in ’77. I thought it was a well run chain, not as good as the Velvet Turtle, but the white table-cloth, chrome lined chairs and tables provided an easy going comfortable environment. I was a waiter and made great money, but had to work double shifts, lunch and dinner. In between, I went to see every bad movie made in 1977, including WHITE BUFFALO and THE CAR. My girlfriend and I lived in West Los Angeles. The Tiger had many popular-culture faces showing up, since it was Westwood and the celebrities came and went. I loved it. I did stand up over at the Comedy Store-West and had a pretty good time, all in all. But then, we moved to Redondo Beach and my girlfriend left me. How awful!

  • Roger Hoffman says:

    Wow I just found out that the Hungry Tiger is still in business , well that made my day for sure. I was head bartender and asst. manger at the Sepulveda store in 1978 to 1979 then worked at the one at the Scotsdale airport in 1980. The soup was to die for , clam chowder and the Dobie Delight from the oyster bar Wes the best and I knew Dobie who it was named after, we were the number one store in the chain for many years. I got to get to the one in Portland . Thank you. Roger Hoffman

  • Kathleen Grant says:

    Where on Sepulveda blvd was the Hungry Tiger restaurant?

  • Lois Cary says:

    Does anyone remember Drysdale’s Dugout?

  • Lois Cary says:

    My husband and I went there in 66or 67. I am from Boston and he waates from Maine, so we know our Maine lobster and how it should be cooked/presented. When I broke off one of the front claws a gush of water filled my plate to almost overflowing soaking and making the other items on my plate inedible. I ate what I could and we never went there again and it closed down shortly after that. No surprise.

  • alejandro jorge buna says:

    i am from argentina, came on vacation in 1969 and worked at the Hungry Tiger on la brea and Hollywood blvd…it was a very nice place to work , my manager HEDING FLEMMING..was very strict….and did not allow me to have a mustache….. but i was ok with it… because the place was very fancy…. the staff was very nice to work with…..and you always will be serving to actors like Lucy Ball, Peter Graves, SIlvester Stallone, Mia Farrow, and many more….. the food was excellent and working in this place gave me too many satisfactions hard to tell them all….i wish this place will be still open….. i stop working at this place in order to jump working on my own in the garment industry….was very sucessful but lasted only 7 years…have done many other things like interpreting, interior gardening… but my best time was working at THE HUNGRY TIGER…… WISH IT WAS STILL OPEN…..FROM MY HEART….

  • Rhudy Camper says:

    Retired now, but back in 1970s, I had to travel to LA quite a bit, and generally stayed in the LAX area. One of my favorite places to eat was the Hungry Tiger near Marina Del Rey. I would always get my sand dabs “fix” there, along with great clam chowder and sourdough bread. Such good times back then! Would come home and mention what a tough trip I had. Yea, right.

  • Lizzie says:

    I remember them, but well – I think I only ate there a couple of times as a kid. What brought me to your page, by searching for “hungry tiger”, because I got an Old Fashioned glass with their logo at an antique store in Lebec.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Fun reading through all the Comments which makes me wonder if/hope that “younger” Folks are enjoying and capturing memories of restaurants today or are we just overly nostalgic! LOL

    The Hungry i! The Hungry i! is all I’d misread when seeing The Hungry Tiger in your List. Finally searched for The H i and references to its performers come flowing back into mind, e.g., etc. Man, those must’ve been the days in San Francisco to see Sahl, Cosby, Streisand, Woody, Cavett, Jonathan, Prof Corey, etc.!

  • Mike Puckett says:

    Scott Davis and I were musicians at the Tiger in Westwood Village in 1975. Many actors/actresses came into the bar due to the Westwood theater being right next door. It was so much fun and the restaurant was just incredible. Made many great friends and memories that year in the Village.

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