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Tinhorn Flats Stays Defiantly Open After Getting Red-Tagged

The entrance to Tinhorn Flats, an Old West-themed bar in Burbank.
(Elina Shatkin/LAist)
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The saga of Tinhorn Flats continues. The city of Burbank has now twice padlocked the Western-themed restaurant and bar for non-compliance with health orders. Twice, the locks have been sawed off by staff and the business has defiantly reopened.

The second padlock-cutting and reopening was yesterday, and that came after the city served Tinhorn Flats with a "red tag" notice marking the building as unsafe and off limits.

"No Entry or Occupancy to the Entire Building and Patio pursuant to the Burbank Municipal Code," the red warning posted on the front door reads.

Next to it is a note on printer paper, encouraging customers to "enter through side gate!"

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As of Thursday afternoon, the business was open and serving nearly a dozen unmasked customers who were sitting on the back patio, sipping beer and watching baseball.

Anyone who enters Tinhorn Flats is at risk of being arrested, according to a statement from the city of Burbank. When asked whether the city had a plan in response to the latest reopening, a spokesperson said, "not right now."

There are "multiple fire/life safety violations that have been brought to the business owner's attention,” Burbank Fire Chief Eric Garcia said in a statement yesterday. "These violations may create life safety hazards to any occupants in the structure."

For starters, the business is running on a generator because Burbank cut its power — with the permission of an L.A. Superior Court Judge. (Tinhorn Flats is facing a lawsuit from the city). According to the fire department, connecting the generator to the electrical panel and using electrical breakers as switches is a fire hazard. Plus, the exit lights don't work.

This afternoon, several cars pulled up outside the restaurant, dropping off gasoline to keep the generator going.

The owner's son, Lucas Lepejian, said he's just operating on the patio for now and plans to address some of the violations outlined in the red tag notice and reopen indoor dining next week.

"We've paid our taxes. We're a legitimate business," Lepejian said. "So if [the city wants] to just completely shut you down, there's got to be some kind of cooperation... to help you out money-wise."

No city officials, police officers or fire department personnel have come by the restaurant since they've opened today, Lepejian said.

We have the full timeline of the Tinhorn Flats saga here.

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