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.

The Idea

I have always adored old L.A. restaurants. Walking into them gives us a glimpse of what once was, as close to traveling through time as we can come. Even just driving past the crazy old signs can be, for a moment, like seeing a different world. Driving around L.A. is another thing I love; exploring new neighborhoods, tracking down hidden treasures. Being a tourist in my hometown.

So when Nikki Kreuzer at The Los Angeles Beat posted this list of 300+ vintage L.A. restaurants, all from the last century (okay, that could be fairly recent; the oldest are from the ’70s) and all still in business, my heart leapt. I want to go to ALL of them. I want to tell you about it when I do.

(this is also a way to stop going to so many national chains, to give what money I have to my neighbors instead of some big corporation. But that sounds more noble than I really am… it’s mostly that I think these places are neat-o)



9 thoughts on “The Idea

  1. Hi! This is Nikki Kreuzer from Offbeat L.A. & author of “The List” for The Los Angeles Beat. I love reading your progress! Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you happen to have “literary” diners on your list? I imagine you would. I was wondering if you might know anything about where the Southern California Writers Group would hang out? I know there was a little drug store type place. This is the group of writers also known as The Group, with such writers as Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson.


    • Oh wow, I don’t know where it was, but I’ll try to find out!


      • Was just recommended to the site–love it! Could be The Pie House on Vermont in Los Feliz was the home of the SoCal Writers Group. L.A. Just proclaimed the intersection there “Forest J. Ackerman Square” and he rolled with that crowd.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’d like to make two recommendations for you since Burbank seems convenient….

    Santoro’s Submarine Sandwiches and

    Coral Cafe (only partly cause they had a “real” ghost sighting!)

    I love supporting these true “mom and pop” places. I even got to meet the original owners of both of these places when I went there as a kid. Love your blog


    • I love Coral Cafe! I’m there all the time. Will check out Santoro’s. I like supporting mom and pop places too… it’s a big part of what inspired me; when I first saw Nikki Kreuzer’s awesome list on the Los Angeles Beat page, I’d been trying to stop going to chain restaurants and this blog seemed like a great way hidden treasures.


      • I grew up in Burbank in the 60s and 70s so that’s all we had were family owned places. You’ve reviewed so many of the great ones (Tony’s, Monte Carlo, Tally Rand, Granada). Even now, and maybe more so because of, the fact that many chain restaurants have opened up, I try to spend more of my dollars at these individually owned places even when I’m traveling in and around Los Angeles. Your blog and Nikki’s list have given me some awesome new places to try. It’s important that we keep them alive by giving them our business. Thank you.

        You got a shout out from Cory on today – were you aware? That’s how I found you! Keep up the great reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved reading this. I found it when I was searching for my grandparent’s truckstop cafe of the late 40’s/early 50’s. Called Mom and Pop’s Cafe, it was a greasy spoon truck stop. Located right on Washington Blvd between Bandini (now called City of Commerce) and I think Montebello – near Whittier, I spent many hours in the place as a toddler. My grandparent’s family name was Becktel: mom (Kitty) and pop (Clifford) and kids (adults at the time) Bud, Pete, Ray, Dot (sis) Marian and Jojo. The place was small with about a 6 seat lunch counter and maybe 4 or 5 booths but was usually full. The traffic was always at a standstill at commute time out in front on 4-lane Washington blvd and I remember the smell of gas fumes more than the burgers. When my grandfather passed in the mid 50’s, the place was shuttered. I drove by years later and the building had become a plumbing supply.


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