All week long there have been large crowds and lots of mouth watering delights at Chicks restaurant on Mulholland Drive in Woodland Hills.
But this was no celebration, in fact, it was a sad occasion.
On Saturday Chicks will close its doors for good. After 30 years of serving rotisserie chicken, ribs, brisket and other tasty fare, Chicks will cease to exist.
Working behind the counter Sunday, Diana Berkman, the owner of Chicks cried.
"This is so painful. I have been dreading this last week, but now that it's about to happen I'm having trouble dealing with it," said Diana, making no attempt to hold back her tears.
Berkman was standing next to a copper rotisserie oven where about 20 golden brown chickens were turning, roasting and dripping over a large fire.
"Business was great here for years, but when the economy turned down we started going down with it," added Berkman, a fine featured, dark haired woman in her 60s.
Just then a young man rushed up and put his arms around her, gathering her up in a bear hug.
"When I saw on my friend's facebook page that you were closing, I had to come and see you," said Alon Rogenstein, a college student.
"I drove here from Santa Cruz to see you before you closed, never stopped to eat. All the way down I was thinking of your chicken," he added, still hugging Diana.
The smoky aroma of BBQ sauce filled the air in the small restaurant, customers were jammed in at tables as Diana explained the situation to people in the crowd.
"We used to sell 200 chickens every day, but for the past three years, that number has been steadily going down. We're now down to about 80 or 85 chickens a day. Can't survive on that rate of sales. Plus the cost of chickens and other supplies have been rising. The large chicken chains get much lower prices from suppliers than we do," said Berkman.
"We just can't compete with the corporate chicken outlets," added Diana's son Jean Paul, 36, who has worked in the famiy business at 23355 Mulholland Drive since he was a teenager.
"Our chicken is fresh, full of flavor, much better tasting than our corporate competitors but our food costs have been rising and the chains that buy food for 100 outlets get much better deals from suppliers," he added, his eyes welling up with tears.
"Sorry, but I get emotional when I talk about this, " said Jean Paul, who is the father of two sons. "We had 27 great years here, then suddenly it all changed."
The Berkman family are Mexican immigrants who are Jewish. When they lived in Mexico City, they were in the toy business. After coming to Los Angeles, they decided to try the restaurant business.
"My mother has always been a great cook, so she said, 'Let's open a restaurant, how hard could it be?,' " said Jean Paul.
"We created sort of a Mexican Jewish restaurant," continued Jean Paul. "We served chicken, brisket and pastrami along with burritos, taquitos and quesadillas."
"Some of our customers came for the Mexican food. Others loved the pastrami and brisket."
Diana's husband, Jack, is an artist who also worked behind the counter.
When a sign was put up on the front window telling people Chicks was closing on June 30, customers started coming in droves. Many people wanted to pay their last respects to a place that was once a popular neighborhood bistro.
"We've been very busy since people heard we were closing," explained Jean Paul.
"I've been coming here with my parents since I was 4 years old, " said Dawn Rockman, 22, of Woodland Hills who was sitting at an outdoor table having a BBQ chicken sandwich.
The family has also been flooded with emails. Here's one that just came in: "I just heard the news about Chicks closing. I am so sad. You have been a big part of raising my kids. Your cooking has become a tradition at our Christmas dinners. I want to give you a standing ovation."
Still crying, while waiting on customers Diana said, "This was the center of our lives, not sure what we're going to do now."