Marilyn Lewis, Co-Founder of Hamburger Hamlet, Kate Mantilini Restaurants, Dies at 87

Marilyn Lewis, who with her husband Harry Lewis, co-founded the Hamburger Hamlet restaurants and later industry hang-out Kate Mantilini, died Wednesday. She was 87.

Born Marilyn Friedman in Cleveland, she moved to Los Angeles with hopes of working as a movie costume designer. When she met young actor Harry Lewis, the pair began dreaming of opening a restaurant on their very first date.

Aiming to appeal to actors who wanted something simple and comforting after working all day, they opened the first Hamburger Hamlet at Sunset Blvd. and Hilldale before they were married, drawing customers including Ronald Reagan, Sammy Davis Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Curtis.

Hamburger Hamlet opened more locations, including in Beverly Hills on Beverly Drive, and the restaurant became known as the first place to serve gourmet, customizable hamburgers with unusual toppings. Other memorable dishes included “Those Potatoes” and the Lobster Bisque.

After helping conceive the look of the restaurant and the sophisticated slant of the menu, Marilyn Lewis launched the Cardinali fashion line in the 1960s. The expensive, luxurious clothes were worn by socialites and stars, most famously by Marlo Thomas on the show “That Girl.”

The family sold the chain in 1987 and went on to open Kate Mantilini on Wilshire Blvd., which also became a favorite casual industry eatery until its closure in 2014.

Harry Lewis died in 2013. Marilyn Lewis is survived by sons Adam and David and five grandchildren.


Calif. Man Accused of Giving Cannabis-Laced Chocolate Bar to Co-Worker

Duong Che, 36, is accused of lacing a candy bar with pot and giving it to a co-worker. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

THOUSAND OAKS — A man has been arrested on suspicion of poisoning after authorities say he knowingly gave a co-worker a cannabis-laced chocolate bar without her knowledge.

Duong Che of Rosemead was booked at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office East County Jail, and subsequently posted bail, CBS Los Angeles reports.

He is scheduled to appear in court later this month in connection with the charge which stems from the March 12 incident.

It was then that authorities allege that 36-year-old Che offered a female co-worker a chocolate bar.

“Unknown to the victim, the chocolate bar was a cannabis edible with a dosage of THC,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

After eating the bar, authorities said the woman began experiencing shortness of breath, confusion, and disorientation.

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Unable to keep working, the 20-year-old Thousand Oaks woman left with a relative and was later seen at a medical facility.

An investigation was launched and detectives obtained a search warrant in April.

“During the search of Che’s vehicle, a cannabis chocolate bar edible was located,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. “In addition to the cannabis edible, Che was in possession of a 70 ecstasy pills and over $600 in currency.”

A court appearance for Che has been scheduled for April 27.