David Hekmat stepping down as owner of Westwood’s oldest eating establishment after 41 years
By Sam Catanzaro
Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe–Westwood’s oldest restaurant–is changing ownership for the first time in over 40 years to a longtime patron and active community member.
Last week, David Hekmat stepped down as owner of Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe, located at 1453 Westwood Boulevard, after 41 years, one of the most iconic and beloved restaurants in all of Westwood. In a letter announcing the news, Hekmat said he is “confidently” leaving the cafe in the “very capable hands” of Roozbeh Farahanipour, owner and president of nearby Delphi Greek Cafe.
“On behalf of my wife, Laila, and I, we thank you for your support over the last four decades. It has been an honor to serve multiple generations in this community, and I plan to continue to remain an active member of the Westwood Community Council. We will continue to consider you all family and Westwood will forever be my home,” Hekmat said. “While there has been a change in ownership, our longtime staff, including our friendly servers and chefs, will stay on to maintain consistency in food and service.”
“we thank you for your support over the last four decades. It has been an honor to serve multiple generations in this community”David Hekmat
Mary & Robbs began as a soda fountain and lunch counter inside the former Westwood Super Drugs at Westwood Boulevard and Ohio Avenue, in the early 1950s. A young Hekmat was a frequent Mary & Robbs patron when one day in 1979 the then-owner approached his table and mentioned that he wanted to sell the restaurant. Hekmat had always loved the restaurant, which reminded him of his college years in New York City. He made an offer, and within a month he was the new owner of Mary & Robbs.
Like Hekmat, Farahanipour is no stranger to Westwood. A devoted member of the Westwood community, Farahanipour has resided in Westwood for 20 years, owning and opening Delphi Greek Cafe for the past 11 years.
“Just as David [Hekmat] was a frequent patron of Mary & Robbs before he became its owner, so too, Roozbeh Farahanipour has been a longtime patron and fan of Mary & Robbs. For years, regulars would frequently see Roozbeh and his family dining in one of the comfortable booths,” said Steven Sann, Chair of the Westwood Community Council. “Though he had many other suitors and potential buyers who wanted to buy Mary & Robbs, David did not want to sell his restaurant to anyone who intended to close it, gut its interior, dismiss its employees, and turn it into something else entirely different. That would have been the end of Mary & Robbs, and a tragic day for Westwood. Rather, David selected Roozbeh Farahanipour, another very special member of our Westwood community, who is buying Mary & Robbs in order to keep it as it is, including its menu, longtime employees, ambiance, and to continue its decades-long tradition.”
Farahanipour has brought in a new feature to the cafe: Mary & Robbs now offers free delivery available by calling the restaurant directly at (310) 478-3822 to order. In addition, patrons can also order through Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Doordash. The cafe is also open for outdoor dining.
On top of owning Delphi Greek Cafe and now Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe, Farahanipour serves as President of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, President of the L.A. Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, Board member of BizFed, and a member of the Westwood Village Rotary Club, the Westwood Neighborhood Council, the Friends of Westwood Library and the West LAPD Community-Police Advisory Board.
“I hope you will make it a point to stop by and congratulate Roozbeh on his wonderful good fortune to carry on the legacy of Mary & Robbs for future generations in Westwood! And no doubt we will be seeing David and Laila Hekmat many times and in many places in Westwood, so we can all thank them for their 41 years of devotion to our community, and for ensuring that the Mary & Robbs tradition will continue,” Sann said.