Remains of L.A.

Traces of L.A.'s past can still be found, in the kitsch of '50s diners and the decayed glamour of '40s hotspots… and sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people.

(1956) Beeps, Van Nuys


beepsMy friends Corey and Suze had both expressed an interest in going to Beeps, so David (my husband) and I arranged to meet them there for dinner. Then we were really late because we hadn’t counted on traffic being as rough as it was. There are few things I hate more than being late.

Beeps had been described to me as a diner, but it’s really more of a sandwich/burger stand with a tiny indoor eating area and a slightly less tiny patio. The counter has an order window both on the inside and the outside, and if you’re eating there they’ll bring you your food.

-I got a patty melt and onion rings. I’ve never had a patty melt with tomato on it before, and if I have my way I’ll never have a patty melt without tomato ever again. Outstanding.

beepstoots-the outside is all hot pink and turquoise, the inside has silver sparkly vinyl seats and table tops with a pink and blue squiggles. Tons of fifties (and sixties and even seventies) memorabilia cover every inch; movie posters and TV stills, 3D models of cars stick out from the wall, and there are several paintings of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean,and Humphrey Bogart hanging out together. The sloping ceiling is covered in tin ads for sodas and popsicles and gum and baseball cards. Corey pointed out that it’s a genuine ’50s spot re-done to look like a recreation of a genuine ’50s spot.

-Right above our booth were three black-and-white photos; one was a picture from “Grease” of Danny and Sandy embracing, which made me happy because the same picture, poster-sized, hung over my bed for much of my childhood. Another was a publicity shot of the Munsters in which Marilyn is wearing an incredibly obvious wig. It’s bizarre, how obvious the wig is. It looks like it’s made out of plastic possibly. Third was a picture from Happy Days, obviously also a posed publicity shot. Richie Cunningham is grinning wildly at the book he is reading. Potsie, Ralph, and the Fonz are all hanging over his shoulders, also smiling with great amusement and pleasure at the book. The book is “I the Jury” by Mickey Spillane.

-There’s a sign on the ceiling in which Howdy Doody is selling Howdy Doody Fudgesicles. In the corner of the sign is what looks like a dog wearing a flowerpot for a hat, but it turns out that that’s actually a character from the show named “Flub-a-dub,” who was made up of something like nine different animals. That must have been such a weird show.

-I went to the counter to ask for more water. The waitress filled the glass part way and then went to put ice in. I asked her to not put ice in, and she said she’d just put in a little because the ice would melt (?!). Then she put in a bunch of ice I didn’t want, and every time I took a sip my lips got cold.

-There is a Zippy the Pinhead comic strip on the wall, all about this very place, Beeps. There’s a drawing of the sign and all. It’s about how odd the name is. It really ran in the newspapers. They must have been so excited that day.

-I looked around for the restrooms and we saw a sign on the wall, half-hidden by a gigantic gumball machine, that said “public facilities provided.” It was suggested that they were maybe outside around to the right so I went and looked for them. When I didn’t find them I came back and peered behind the gumball machine and realized the sign actually said “public facilities NOT provided.”

What I Ate: Patty melt with tomato, onion rings, a sip of David (my husband)’s “50/50 shake” (half vanilla, half orange), one of Suze’s cheesy fries

Who I Ate With/Things We Talked About: David (my husband), Corey, Suze; Science Fiction/Fantasy cons in general and Dr. Who conventions and ComicCon in particular, whether or not there is such a thing as cat conventions for people who are just super into cats, the movie “Stand by Me,” Keifer Sutherland, and Erich Kastner who wrote “Emil and the Detectives” and “Lisa and Lottie” on which Parent Trap was based.

What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts Which I do Not: Two teenage girls who came in every day after school because they had a huge crush on the guy behind the counter. Note: Unless otherwise stated, all ghosts mentioned in this blog died peacefully of old age and then reverted to the age/place of their choosing.

16063 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91406


4 thoughts on “(1956) Beeps, Van Nuys

  1. We’ve been exploring places we haven’t been around LA lately and also tried Beeps. We had fun. Probably the cheapest prices I’ve seen anywhere in LA, and though the food didn’t feel good for you.,. It tasted fantastic! You may have already been here…. But you should try LA’s OLDEST restaurant, The Saugus Cafe. We went last weekend. Other recent finds have been The Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, The Rock Inn, Frisco’s, Jurassic Restaurant, I know I’m missing some in there…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Saugus Cafe is the first item on the list (see “the list” at the top of the page) and I’m looking forward to going there


  3. k I’ve sent folks to Beeps didn’t know you were going.
    I push ONE thing on the menu and one thing only… that’s the CHILI SIZE. They are one of very few places that still makes this dish, once a southern california specialty.
    There used to be two size ladles at local diners – the soup size and the chili size. What the dish is though is a variation on the burger. They take a hamburger bun, flatten it then grill it , and one half of the almost rusk like bun now sits on the plate. A burger patty covers it, and then the chili size ladle of chili covers that. THe other rusklike toasted bun is split in half and looks so elegant. It’s eaten with knife andfork, not to be picked up (can’t be,not without huge mess)>
    Also, milkshakes at Beeps are crazy good.
    and for ghosty places try, real lunch counter in drug store in Orange, CA


    Liked by 1 person

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