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.


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(1958) Corky’s Restaurant, Sherman Oaks

corkyssignWent to Corky’s Restaurant for dinner with David (my husband) and our friend Ari.

-Booths and seats of forest green with sea foam green accents, dark brown tables with green “marble” trim. The whole place had the classic Googie shape, though with fewer rough rock walls than I like. Drop ceiling with that acoustic tile that teenagers in 80’s movies like to crawl through. Walls are painted light colors and covered in pictures of old movie theaters with cool marquees. One wall towards the back has Continue reading


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(1948) Du-pars, Studio City

duparsscsignWas planning on staying in last night but started feeling stir crazy, so I drove out to Du-Pars in Studio City for a late dinner.

-Golden chandeliers, lovely reddish Oriental carpet with a sort of ornate star design, rose marble counter with tall black chairs in front of it, a long row of booths–round booths against the windows and tall-backed two-person booths across from them, two large rooms of tables, lots and lots of potted plants, black and white photos on the walls showing scenes from the early days of Du-Pars, a bakery display of incredibly delicious-looking treats, old-timey ads for different flavors of pie scattered around on the walls, a high shelf holding ornate Continue reading


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(1959) Dinah’s Family Restaurant, Culver City

dinahsfamilysignMet my friend Marcie at Dinah’s Family Restaurant for a late lunch. Hadn’t realized that it is connected to Dinah’s Fried Chicken in Glendale until I got there and saw that above the take-out portion of the restaurant was the same bucket sign. Went back and forth on whether I should feel silly about that but decided no; it really doesn’t seem that impossible that there’d be two unaffiliated restaurants in the world named Dinah’s. I’ve now checked the websites, and neither mentions the other, which makes me think there must have been a rift at some point. Whatever, I can like them both. They couldn’t be more different, anyway. Dinah’s Family Restaurant is a large googie-type diner with a counter and many booths, and I only saw only one Continue reading


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(1957) Norm’s Restaurant, West Hollywood

normssignAfter a surprisingly uneventful dentist appointment, I stopped by the original Norm’s for a late lunch. Norm’s has a sign that always shows up in pictures of cool L.A. signs–for good reason, it’s neat–and the building is the quintessential Googie diner.

The inside doesn’t exactly look like the Jetsons, but it looks like it was designed and decorated by someone who thought the Jetsons was incredibly awesome.

-Sharply slanting ceiling, floor tiled to look like red brick, a gray counter with seats that are bright green with orange piping. The two long walls (which are crooked in a deliberate, interesting geometrical way) have one long Continue reading


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(1953) James Restaurant, San Fernando

jamessignMy friend Ari, David (my husband), and I drove out to San Fernando and had dinner at James Restaurant.

By far the best sign yet. And underneath the sign, for no reason I can fathom, are two statues: a horse, and a lady holding what looks like a horn of plenty. There seemed to be a space for a third statue, but really, aren’t those two enough?

-the walls inside are rose stone with brown tiles making star patterns, to extremely pleasing effect. Reddish-wood tables, hanging Tiffany lamps, striped curtains,  paintings on the walls. Our U-shaped booth had a painting on either side, one of seaside scene in what we think was Greece, and one of a deer at a stream near a house. Not necessarily great art, but very nice to look at.

-as we sat down I was exclaiming over how much I loved the place, and the woman finishing her Continue reading


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(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 Continue reading


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(1948) Cindy’s in Eagle Rock

Those are owl statues perched on the sign

Those are owl statues perched on the sign

I chose Cindy’s to be my first restaurant in the blog because it’s got a sign I’ve always been crazy about (Eagle Rock in general has a lot of fantastic old signs), and because there’s nothing I love like a coffee shop. I know we say diner now, but not all diners are coffee shops. This one is exactly a coffee shop. I went for brunch (really it was breakfast but I’m calling it brunch because I slept crazy late today, either because I was out late doing fantastic fun things or because I was up late trying to remember how WordPress works. You decide.

-The interior is fantastic; bright orange booths and chairs, hanging globe lights, and the sort of  star-spangled wallpaper that always reminds me of ’70s rec rooms (even though it’s from earlier, really; the ’70s is just when I first saw it).  There’s a wall-sized chalk board you look at when you sit at the counter, with the specials on it in colored chalk. The only thing that didn’t seem to fit was the green and red carpet that looked like hallway carpeting in a mid-price hotel.

-I sat at the counter because it was crowded, which I like doing cause I can pretend I’m at a lunch counter in the forties trying to gather info for my private detective boss, except Continue reading