Walter’s Cafe to Close on April 30

Walter’s Cafe, a Beverly Hills institution for over 75 years, will close its door permanently on April 30. Walter’s owner Fred Djie delivered the sad news to employees—and to the Courier—this week. 

“It’s about time,” said Djie, summing up a decision bound to surprise and disappoint  patrons throughout the city. 

Walter’s origins date back three-quarters of a century, when Swiss baker Walter Weber  opened an eponymous establishment on the nascent Rodeo Drive. After 25 years at  313 N. Rodeo, Walter’s moved to 434 N. Canon Drive, the present site of La Scala. The  Canon Drive location became a favorite of Hollywood legends such as the late Jacky Cooper, who came in daily for the sticky cinnamon raisin rolls known as schnecken (German for snail). 

In subsequent years, celebrities such as Jodie Foster, Jason Alexander, Victoria Principal,  John Lithgow, Kris Jenner, Carrie Fisher, John Ritter and many other well-known personalities would become regulars. 

Djie’s own history with Walter’s began more than 40 years ago. His late father Richard  purchased the establishment from Weber in 1981. 

Interestingly, the elder Djie almost took the restaurant in an entirely different direction. 

“My dad had a high-end Indonesian restaurant in Holland. He wanted to do that with  Walter’s, but it was already an institution,” recalls Djie. 

Even institutions evolve, and that is exactly what Walter’s did under Djie’s direction. 


Walter’s delivery team used bikes to traverse the city.
Photo courtesy Fred Djie

In 2014, the restaurant moved to its present location at 153 S. Beverly Drive. It soon  became the neighborhood anchor tenant for the reliable comfort food, served in person, by takeout or delivery. In fact, Walter’s laid claim to the largest food delivery in the city.  Walter’s fleet of delivery bikes, pedaled by employees in eye-catching green T-shirts  adorned with a “Got Food?” logo fanned out across the city at lunchtime. 

Over the years the menu grew to reflect current times and tastes. Selections now include everything from breakfast burritos to matzo brie, shakshuka (poached eggs with chickpeas  and a spicy sauce) to salmon bowls. Mainstays, such as charbroiled burgers, turkey clubs and salads, never fell out of favor. 

“Our tuna salad was always one of the most popular items on the menu. Ladies come in for that every day,” said Djie. 

The decision to close, though not easy, was in many ways inevitable. 

“Before the pandemic, we were the biggest delivery operation in Beverly Hills. But then,  Uber, Postmates and the like came around and took away the business. Also, a lot of our regulars have gotten older or passed away,” said Djie 

The cost of doing business continues to increase, as well.  

“Even with the patronage of our immensely loyal customers and the support of the Hakim family, our landlord, fluctuations in customer traffic have placed immense strain on our business,” Djie noted. 

He cites his relationships with customers and employees as his greatest accomplishment.  

“I’ve had such loyal employees. My average employee has been here about 22 years. My  baker has been with me for 28 years, though he got ill and had to take some time off. Until  recently, we baked all of our own pastries and cookies. I have a busboy and a waitress who were here for 34 years,” said Djie. 

To say that his employees are disappointed is an understatement. Djie is giving them time to find other employment. 

“I don’t know what comes next for me. I may take some time off. All I can say is that it has been a pleasure and honor to serve everyone. It was like ‘Cheers’ in here. When you came  in, everybody knew each other. This was a home away from home where people came in to meet their friends. I would like to express my sincere gratitude that we were able to be part of the Beverly Hills community for all those years,” said Djie. 

Noting that some customers have been coming in for five decades, he added. 

“It would be nice for people to come in and say goodbye.” 

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