Here is a message from our friend and Maxwell Cafe owner Heidi Lemmon.
Maxwell’s Café celebrates 50 years in Venice this this year so what happened???
Angry tenant decided to leave and destroy the property on the way out. (see below for backstory)
So what now? Back in 2006 Ed Wasser, Waterstone Construction (dad of skater Evan Wasser- frog skateboards) and crew boss, Tirso Sanchez, renovated the property for me and they are back 15 years later.
With a little help from our friends and staff.
Skate legend Lonny Hiramoto will be helping organize the new memorabilia. Lonny is lining up autographed pro decks and photos. Legends Skip Engblom, Steve Steadham, Jeff Ho, Cindy Whitehead, Gale Webb, Chris Hooten, Ray Rae, Dan Levy, Marty Grimes, Eddie Hadvina, Cleo Coney, Antonnio Thron Passos Jr., Kevin White, Lance Lemond, Jeff Greenwood, Wynn Miller, Bart Saric, Nicole Wasserman and many more…
Big Thank you to Nicole Ashley Wasserman for starting a gofund me to help restore this iconic café/ diner.
What do we need help with? Pretty much everything. No donation is too small.
Mike Maxwell opened Maxwell’s in 1972. In 2006 he sold the property and café to me and Mike and Kelly headed to Costa Rica to open Maxwell’s Café & Bar.
In 2008 and the café business was sold to a man who owned numerous other restaurants. He bought the business, not the building and leased the building back for 10 years with a 5 year option. It was a NNN lease. That means he was responsible for all repairs and maintenance.
In 2010 one of his partners took over Maxwell’s and managed it until 2018. The partner decided to vacate when 10 year lease was up. Photo of Maxwell’s in 2018 before the partner left.
The original tenant came back and signed a 5 year extension on the lease in 2018. Part of the lease agreement was to do the required maintenance, repairs and ADA compliance.
By 2019 he had removed all the stools from the front.
Tenant hired a handyman to do the repairs who also lived in the Maxwell’s office for about 3 months with his dog while doing repairs. He was not a contractor or had much experience in repairs..
Restroom before Restroom after renovation
Repairs and maintenance were not going well.
Dirt and grime were building up and property was quickly falling into disrepair,
The griddle was cracked and flames were coming out and burning the cooks so they stuffed egg crates in to protect themselves. The dishwasher and sink leaked so the tenant put pans and buckets under them that over flowed daily and the water leaked under the baseboard and damaged the bearing wall.
Things were going downhill at Maxwell’s and then covid hit. The last rent payment the tenant made was Feb 2020.
The restaurant was very busy in 2021 and 2022 with full staff and open 7 days a week. In May 2021 Maxwell’s received a nontaxable Restaurant Revitalization Grant of $412,310.00. These funds were not used to pay rent or even the 25% rent required by Culver City covid moratorium.
In Feb 2022 the covid moratorium was lifted and Make ‘Em Pay was able to serve the tenant with a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit. That was May 17 2022. He started removing his property May 17 and 18 and then hired a crew on May 19th to destroy whatever belonged to me including; hood fans and motors, walk in refrigerator, water filtration system, custom shelving and prep areas, hand carved oak benches, custom booths in the front , custom built tables etc.
We are rebuilding and hope to open in a few weeks, with a little help from our friends. This is not the end, it’s the beginning.
Heidi Lemmon, [email protected]
Get to know Heidi! Check out this article we did on her in 2017!
2017 Article by Alexander Stowell
Today, the Venice Paparazzi “Pass The Spotlight” shines on Skatepark advocate, Heidi Lemmon.
Let’s support Heidi and Maxine’s, formally known as Maxwell’s Cafe! Here is the gofund.me link.