HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Hollywood’s oldest restaurant Musso and Frank Grill is suing their insurer who denied their claim to cover losses from the Coronavirus on Tuesday, April 21.
The owners, John and Mark Echeverria, a father-son team filed a federal lawsuit against New York based Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance USA, Inc. According to the suit, they failed to cover the 101 year-old restaurant’s loss of income and “that it has done so to other policyholders to earn `illicit profits’ at their expense.”
Once the SARS outbreak hit in 2003, insurance policies placed an exception on coverage for “loss of damage” due to “virus, bacterium, or other microorganism that induces or is capable of including physical distress, illness or disease.” The Echeverria’s policy had similar language.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order on March 15 banning restaurants and bars from serving food and alcohol on their premises. March 15 was the first time the restaurant had to close its doors after surviving the Spanish flu, Great Depression, World War II, and the 2008 recession.
The restaurant was founded by French immigrant Firmin “Frank” Toulet and was originally called Frank’s Francois Café. In 1923, the name of the restaurant was changed to Musso & Frank after forming a partnership with Joseph Musso. By 1927 Musso & Frank was sold to Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso. The owners today are descendants of John Mosso and is currently managed by Mosso’s great grandson Mark Echeverria.
Musso and Frank Grill played a cultural role in Los Angeles since its opening in the 1920s attracting artistic and intellectual clientele to its doors. It has been frequented by famous writers like William Faulker and F. Scott Fitzgerald and was a favorite of Charlie Chaplin’s.