City of Burbank Pulls Locks Off of Tinhorn Flats, Cites Safety Issues to Public

Tinhorn Flats on Wednesday morning was paddle locked shut per a court order. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Last night, March 17, 2021, at 6:35 pm, Burbank fire was called to Tinhorn Flats after someone complained of overcrowding. Truck 12 arrived and soon cleared the scene after about five minutes. Later that night, the Burbank Police Watch Commander also visited the scene.


Today, the City of Burbank issued the following release regarding the padlocking of the doors at Tinhorn Flats and their next steps in taking action.

In a tweet today, Councilmember Nick Schultz said that the “City Council will be discussing the matter today”.

Here is the City’s release:

Tin Horn Flats Continues to Violate Court Orders and Endanger Our Community

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To Protect Life Safety the City of Burbank Removes Court Authorized Locks at Tin Horn Flats

BURBANK, CA (March 18, 2021) – Last night, the City of Burbank removed the locks to resolve a life-safety hazard created by Tin Horn Flats who allowed patrons into the patio and inside the locked restaurant.

Tin Horn Flats continues to flagrantly ignore and violate Los Angeles (LA) Superior Court Judge’s orders to shut down restaurant operations, permitting the City to padlock the doors. Tin Horn Flats cut the latch on the side door to operate the restaurant, letting people inside while leaving the front doors padlocked. This created a safety hazard, which in an emergency such as a fire, could result in the loss of life.

After monitoring social media posts and seeing numerous people inside the locked building, the City Manager and City Attorney directed Burbank Fire along with Burbank Police to visit the establishment. Upon verification of people inside, the City unlocked the front door as this was the only responsible action to protect human life.

“Tin Horn Flats continues to be irresponsible in their actions. Last night’s reckless behavior reflects a lack of concern for their patrons’ wellbeing. They continue to care more about defying the Court’s Orders than the health and safety of the community,” said City Manager Justin Hess.

The Fire and Police Chiefs do not condone this blatant disregard for life safety exhibited by the irresponsible behavior of Tin Horn Flats. “It’s shameful that Tin Horn Flats allowed people within their establishment while the front doors were still locked and in violation of the Judge’s Orders. If a fire had broken out during this event, people could have become trapped inside, which may have resulted in the loss of life,” stated Eric Garcia, Burbank Fire Chief.

“We are utterly disappointed in Tin Horn Flats’ behavior and do not support their actions as they continue to put the community at risk. They should be complying with the

Court’s Orders and not be illegally operating,” said Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse.

“In reality, we don’t have the ability to affect immediate change and force Tin Horn Flats to close,” said Amy Albano, Burbank City Attorney. “This is why we are going back to Court.”

Another hearing is scheduled on March 26 for a Preliminary Injunction to continue to order Tin Horn Flats closure until they receive a new County Public Health Permit to operate as a restaurant, as well as a new City Conditional Use Permit to operate as a restaurant/bar. If granted by the Court, the Order would be in effect until there is a trial or an appellate court overturns the Order.

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  1. It’s sad seeing so many uninformed people giving their hard-earned money to keep Tinhorn Flats open. If they had played it like all of the other restaurants in Burbank, they would be operating like normal again. Instead, they say that they should be allowed to stay open during the height of the pandemic to sell cheeseburgers and beer, then beg for money, and plead with right-wing media to state their case for them and rouse those who want to shout “Oppression!” along with them. I wonder how many of them know that Tinhorn Flats and Baret Lepejian also received government assistance during the pandemic to help them stay open already…

    They simply want special treatment that no one else is getting while putting people at risk along the way.

    If they are so anti-government, then why did they accept money from the State of California and continue to stay open anyway? Hmmm…maybe money? Lucas Lepejian, Baret’s son, even said the reason they want to stay open is “capitalism” in the Burbank City Council meeting, resulting in them losing their license to operate.

  2. Freedom. Americans are free to not wear masks. Newsom is being recalled for hurting the middle class while not following rules himself. Cheating Socialist that are now on our city counsel are not dictators. Unfair to try and kill some ones livelihood. Socialist are turning this city into a 3rd world Hole! Take off your masks and breath. You are being brainwashed by people that have already sold their souls.

    • Americans are free not to wear seat belts, however doing so may get you a ticket (or injury/death). Americans have the right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean you can say ANYTHING you want, there are limits. Hell, technically Americans are free not to wear pants in public, but doing so won’t make you welcome in too many places.

      Take off your pants and let your nether regions breathe! Only a socialist country would force us to cover up what god gave us! GIVE US OUR FREEDOM!!!


      I think one of the mistakes the government made early on in COVID was not mandating masks by law for the duration of the pandemic. Instead it became this stupid political football. If Trump & co had just said, “please wear a mask until we have this all figured out”, we would probably not be having this conversation. Would that have been so hard?

  3. Craig Sherwood, yet again you have removed one of my posts. Is criticism of the city council verboten?

  4. This Lepejian character needs to be locked up. Take a look at the forced closure of his other Tinhorn Flats on Cahuenga back in 2017, and then the subsequent gas explosion that destroyed that facility, damaging the mixed use building it was in. Now this blatant refusal to follow court orders.

    I’m all for standing up for your rights but this is way out of control. There needs to be respect for the law and if there is a court order saying shut down, you SHUT DOWN. Then you work through the system to open back up if the closure was unjust.

    Sorry, just because people don’t like the response to COVID doesn’t mean you can just decide not to follow the rules. I don’t know of any other restaurants in Burbank that are misbehaving to this degree and now they are slowly starting to open up again. I was just walking past Over/Under last night and the patio was packed with a line waiting! They followed the rules and are coming back the right way, along with many others along San Fernando. Good for them!

    I don’t know Lepejian personally but from what I am reading about the Cahuenga location, coupled with his reported behavior here at the Burbank location over the past year, the city would be better off without his kind of business.

  5. There was never any scientific justification for lockdowns or mask mandates. Tin Horn Flats tried to keep their business going was in defiance of state and country orders but was simple common sense, a trait sadly missing from any and all gov.t agencies. Now that the powers that be have allowed for mitigated indoor dining, isn’t it time to forget and forgive one shabby little restaurant for staying open? There is not a single bit of evidence that any person contracted covid there. The city’s persecution of this place is beginning to feel like we are living in communist China or the former Soviet Union. It is frightening. Please check out these articles:

    • The first article you referenced is full of assumptions. It assumes that masks cause hypoxia. It references studies that say hypoxia may cause blood clots, and studies that say N95 masks may cause a 20% reduction of airflow, but that doesn’t translate into a hypoxia situation. I am not a doctor but it seems logical to determine hypoxia based on actual SpO2 levels, something many smartphones these days can quickly measure. I’ve taken my readings many times wearing a mask and have never seen anything less than 95%.

      If masks were a problem, don’t you think we’d see a lot more healthcare workers dropping dead from hypoxia?

      The other articles seemed at least a little better sourced. I think they are a bit biased against masks though… essentially saying, because there was still an increase in cases in mask mandate areas, masks don’t work. There’s no way to say that for sure. Even in mask mandate areas there’s plenty of people who dont wear masks, and those who do don’t always do it perfectly.

      South Korea seems to have tamed coronavirus with aggressive masking and contact tracing. Two things that conservatives here in the US would seem to want over their dead bodies.

  6. These idiots are collaborators with the virus. The more it spreads, the more it mutates, the more of our fellow citizens die, the longer our activities (our freedoms, if you will) are curtailed. If aliens came down and attacked our planet, these morons would show the aliens where our leaders were hunkered down. I want my kids back in school, I want Pantages open, I want good restaurants open. These idiots are keeping that from happening.

  7. This horrific government overreach should outrage anyone who supports the Constitution. Anti-science government tyranny shut down a restaurant that has no link to Covid spread. There is no CDC or other study connecting outdoor dining to Covid spread, and restaurant dining in general comprises only a very small percentage of Covid cases. Arbitrarily appropriating a business without compensating the owner means the government actually owns the business, and the owner serves the government’s whim. This action serves as a disgraceful blot on the city.

    • There have been multiple rounds of PPP loans available, and Burbank city itself is offering up to $20k in no-strings-attached money to help small businesses that have been put on the ropes by covid:

      Personally I think there should have been a far more coordinated effort between federal and state governments to help finance the shutdown. Unfortunately the last guy in the White House couldn’t have cared less about covid or how to handle it and the fish rots from the head.

  8. Fellow Burbankers:

    Rise up against this nonsense and email to complaint to your City Council:

    INDOOR DINING HAS RESUMED this is just FLEXING and total nonsense. Wasting huge taxpayer dollars. Huge waste of money people. Demand it be stopped. Sure issue a fine but there is no good explanation to continue this legal battle at the taxpayer expense. The City Attorney’s budget is over $3 million a year and the City is running a massive budget deficit. You know what that means? Higher taxes for us all. Stop this nonsense now.

    MASSIVE taxpayer funded resources are being wasted and staff are being taken away from very important work.

    “Salaries and Benefits comprise roughly 80% of the recurring General Fund budget”

    And the City gave raises! Who is going to pay for all this? Actions against Tinhorn Flats cost huge money in attorneys fees and lost productivity for our city workers at the Police and Fire Departments. Remember, indoor dining has REOPENED!

    Massive money has been spent fighting Tinhorn Flats but indoor dining is open again. This is really not smart at all. Issue a fine. Money speaks loudest. Crushing small businesses is not good optics right now. Too much staff time wasted. We need focus on reopening and vaccination.

    This is not a capital murder case and money is being spent as if it were.

    What are the damages? I have not seen them. There must be damages or victims for this to be a crime right?

    Very disappointed in our government. I am not a Tinhorn Flats customer but there is a limit to how much you and I must pay for the City to play mommy and daddy and pull out the paddle.

    We have shootouts and drugs on our streets and our police resources are being squandered. Our City Attorney and her staff are being tied up on this nonsense.

    We have unlicensed food carts at hardware stores. Did anyone notice that? They are EVERYWHERE yet the City is focused on Tinhorn Flats to make an example.

    I have seen this movie and know the ending–Tinhorn Flats will pick up and go to another City who will welcome them…and all the free advertising will make them instantly successful. The City is just helping promote this company not hurt them.

    We have a lot of children in public parks without masks. Tinhorn Flats is not worth the spend. Give it up. This is costing us all huge money…look at the budget deficit.

    PLEASE quit this nonsense now.

    • It isn’t about the cost. People should not be allowed to get away with breaking the law, which is exactly what violating a court order is. This is why we have rules, laws, and police.

      Other restaurants in Burbank are open and serving because they followed the rules. The Tinhorn Flats clowns didn’t and they are now reaping what they sowed. This is as it should be.

      Burbank isn’t crushing small business. In fact if you are a Burbank small business you might qualify for $10k or $20k of city funds to help keep operating!

      This is 100% about Tinhorn Flats and the owners being a problem not the city being mismanaged.

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