According to the establishment's owner, Henry's Tacos will be shuttering its windows December 31, barring "a Christmas miracle." Although it figures among "the most divisive" restaurants among the culinary cognoscenti (i.e., those with the taste and wisdom to post upon these boards), to this Knight of the 'Hound Table it is a vintage Los Angeleño icon, and would be a loss felt just as keenly as that of Tail o' the Pup or the Brown Derby.
Say what you will about the cuisine...and I for one will say that Henry's tacos are nearly worthy of idolatry, as the veritable godhead of the Gringo Taco and the progenitor of hundreds of imitators from Taco Bell to your mom's family Taco Night: the shell always reliably crisp, the sweetly oniony ground beef moist and juicy without being greasy, the shredded lettuce cool and crisp, and the always-fresh tomato perfectly sliced and ripened; I will say further that Henry's bean and cheese burrito is among the best of its genre, dusky and savory with a tortilla of admirable constitution; with the addition of the aforementioned ground beef it becomes an equally definitive iteration of the increasingly rare ground beef and bean "combo" burrito...say what you will, but even if you choose not to dine there, surely merely motoring past it and seeing its incomparable Googie signage must raise in you a feeling of heart-lightening admiration, if not outright worshipfulness, for the prowess of our humble megalopolis's midcentury designers? And for that reason if no other, the corner of Tujunga and Moorpark should surely remain unmarred, unstained, unchanged, just as we remember it from our gauzy youth?
Perhaps, now that Elijah Wood--he who fictionally carried the One Ring to the Cracks of Doom against all odds--has become involved in a last-minute campaign to save Henry's, a miracle is possible, and the ancient and noble line of Gringo Tacos will not fade and dwindle in the next Age of this world. I, Don MIguel de Los Angeles no McDonalds, will be among those proselytizing and praying for such a miracle until the bitter end.