I asked readers to update me on what's in the Sherman Oaks space at 13359 Ventura Blvd. where mafia hangout Rondelli's was located in the 1950s. Le Fondue Bourguignonne recently vacated. Well, Lesley Balla of Eater LA emails that it's going to become a Stone Fire Pizza.
Add Jack Whalen: Rondelli's became notorious in 1959 when a bookie named Jack "The Enforcer" Whalen took a bullet between the eyes at mobster Mickey Cohen's table. Bill Boyarsky reminds me that the wife of former L.A. County Supervisor Baxter Ward [now that was a maverick politician—ed.] was related to Whalen.
* Couple of adds:
- Retired TV newsman Pete Noyes emails that Ward (who had been news director at Channel 7 and I believe Channel 9) was married to Whalen's daughter Karen.
- Former Mirror staffer Jerry Clark remembers that the Rondelli's shooting "was a story made for L.A.'s p.m. newspapers, the Los Angeles Herald Express and the Los Angeles Mirror. I remember the competition between the papers to get new information in the early editions on the day following the late-evening shooting. Then, in mid-morning, a Mirror reporter at the scene called the city desk and said the paper may have a chance to interview an eyewitness to the shooting. The reporter had learned that a young member of the paper's Business staff was dining at the restaurant when the shooting occurred. Unfortunately, the business staffer did not show up for work that day. Word went out to restaurants and bars he was known to frequent that he would be terminated if he did not contact the paper. A few hours later he called the desk and told them what he knew about the shooting. He said he did not come forward earlier because he was afraid of what might happen to him if those involved in the shooting found out who he was and where he worked."