Sunday, June 12, 2016

An LA institution returns!

Clifton’s Cafeteria is back! In this age where treasured local landmarks and restaurants are disappearing faster than GOP Trump supporters, Angelinos can rejoice. Clifton’s has returned following a $10 million renovation.

Businessman Clifford Clinton first opened his doors in 1931. By 1935 he was serving 15,000 dinners a day. And two things you should know: He decorated his establishments with the most eye-popping lavish gaudy furnishing you could imagine. Tropical rain forests, the old West, a chapel, trees and neon lights everywhere with waterfalls and a giant stuffed bison and actual meteorites. Disneyland in one room and they serve Jello!

And the second thing: back in the ‘30s, during the Depression, you paid what you could afford, even if that meant eating for free. And yet, somehow the business prospered.

When I was a kid I LOVED going to Cliftons. No place was goofier and they had a big treasure chest for children. You could pick out a little toy as you left. This was way more exciting than girls.

Last week I went to lunch there with my daughter Annie and her fiancée Jon. These are some of the photos I took.  Just another reason why I love LA.

Clifton’s is located at 648 S. Broadway in newly-chic-but-not-that-street Downtown Los Angeles. Bring a camera.  And a child. 












15 comments:

Stephen Marks said...

Got to get there, nothing like a restaurant that displays the meat your eating in an actual wildlife setting. Its like the Hungry Heffer meets We Bought A Zoo, I'm game.

VP81955 said...

Let's hope Angels Flight is the next LA institution to revive. Olivet and Sinai look so forlorn without passengers.

V. Anton Spraul said...

Wow, this might be as close as I could ever come to fulfilling a lifelong dream of eating at the restaurant from the original Mighty Joe Young.

emily said...

Jon has morphed from "partner" to "fiancée"? Hmmm...

Unknown said...

I quit going when they stopped the $1 Old Fashioned for happy hour. It wasn't a great Old Fashioned but it was only a dollar and then you could wander over and look at the bison. AFAIK and the bartenders at Clifton's - this is the only bar in the world with a full size bison. Friends went last night but managed to miss the meteorite on the third floor.

Roseann said...

It looks confusing to me. Were you there for the Early Bird Special? Lots of grey hair, I see.

B.A. said...

I was reminded of The Jurassic Fork from PARKS & REC with Schindler's Lunch just down the road.

Richard Y said...

What toy did you pick out this time?

Anonymous said...

Great place to take your grandchild, Rebecca some day!! Janice B.

estiv said...

Oh yeah. Calibrating exactly the right level of kitsch so that it's enough to be fun but not enough to be annoying isn't easy, but they've managed it.

MikeN said...

Umm, not to be indelicate here, but haven't they been engaged for a long time now?

American Robb said...

Hmmmm... I just might have to venture out there when I am in Los Angeles in July-

Mike McCann said...

Looks like more fun than Canters -- unless it's a day Brian Wilson stops by ;) -- I'll have to include the place on my itinerary next time I visit your coast!

John Hammes said...

With a name like Clifton's, Andy Kaufman may also stop by (think about it.)

DC said...

Wow, the Clifton's that I grew up with (in West Covina)looked like it was a satellite cafeteria from the retirement center across the freeway. I was robbed. ;)