We are lucky in Los Angeles to have a lot of spectacular vintage restaurants, but we are still losing many every year to owners who retire, sell out for money or lose their long-held lease to nasty gentrification. I’m a sucker for a joint with history, charm, character and stories. I’m not as selective about a menu as I am about the ambiance, atmosphere and what I am experiencing. I’m a junkie for vintage architecture and old signs. I pray that old places don’t renovate their mid-century or even mid-’70s decor. I often search the internet for authentic old-school spots in neighborhoods I visit and finding them is not always easy. After a lot of detective work I’ve compiled this “Master List” and plan to update it regularly. I’m sure there are many holes in my research and would appreciate additions and updates in the comments section below. My criteria for the restaurants here is that they are 1979 or older, although there are a few exceptions, and that they are within about an hour’s drive from downtown L.A. You will find classic steakhouses, Googie diners, pastrami delicatessens, walk-up hamburger stands and more. When the restaurant has a web page I provide that, but if not I share a link to a review, Yelp or Wikipedia. I keep this list continually updated. I add, subtract and make changes as needed. As of April 2017 the list is at just 405 places, spread as far south as the bottom of Orange County, east to San Bernardino and north to Santa Clarita. Cheers, my dears, and bon appetit! Love, Nikki
NOTE April 2017: In less than 2 years since I published this list, it has received nearly half a million reads! That shows me how much people care about our vintage restaurants. I have been working hard at photographing everything on this list and have a Google Map in the works broken down by type of restaurant, location and descriptions. My goal is to have it finished by May and and publish it here at the Los Angeles Beat. It will make it easier to find the vintage restaurant you are in the mood for by type of food and neighborhood. Please click to see additional photos I have taken of these places on both Instagram and Twitter.
Between May 2015 to April 2017 we have lost at least 20 restaurants on this list due to closure. These closures are listed at the bottom of the list.
(1905) The Saugus Cafe 25861 Railroad Ave, Santa Clarita, CA 91355.
This is the oldest restaurant in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties, though the current building technically dates to 1952. President Roosevelt ate here in 1903 & later DW Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Marlena Dietrich, Clark Gable, John Wayne & Frank Sinatra. It is a traditional diner/cafe, with bar attached, featuring wood paneled walls and both counter and booth seating. Housed in a low ranch-style building, its exterior is bordered with mid-century river rock. Originally opened in 1887 as part of the Saugus Train Station under the name Saugus Eating House, it took its present name, The Saugus Cafe, in 1899. It moved to its present location in 1905 and was remodeled and enlarged in 1925. In 1952 it was re-built completely by a new owner.
(1908) Cole’s 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014.
Founded by Henry Cole in 1908 on the bottom floor of the Pacific Electric Building, which at 10 stories was once L.A.’s tallest building. Known for their cocktails and French dip sandwiches, which both Cole’s and nearby Philippe’s claim to have invented. Cole’s story is that the au jus dipped roll was prepared at the request of a customer with sore gums who could not eat the crunchy bread. Closed briefly in March 2007 after 99 years in business, Cole’s was brought back to its original splendor with a new owner in 2008 with vermillion red wallpaper, a long mahogany wooden bar, a copper penny tiled floor, Tiffany-style lamps, old photographs mounted on the walls and a back speakeasy. Claims to have been a hangout of 1930s-40s gangster Mickey Cohen.
(1908) Philippe the Original 1001 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
An old fashioned delicatessen with sawdust on the concrete floors, long communal wooden tables, vintage wooden booths and photographs and historical ephemera covering the walls. They are most famous for their French dipped roast beef sandwich and roll soaked in gravy. Originally opened at 300 Alameda St in 1908 by French immigrant Philippe Mathieu, it moved to its current location several blocks away in 1951 after being booted from the old one due to construction of the 101 Hollywood freeway. Philippe’s, like Cole’s, also claims to have invented the French Dip sandwich by accidentally dropped the crunchy roll into gravy.
(1915) Watson Drugs & Soda Fountain 116 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866.
Originally opened as a drugstore in 1899 by a man named Kellar Watson, it was first located on Glassell St. in Orange, but moved around the corner to Chapman Ave in 1901. In 1915 they added the soda fountain and began serving ice cream and comfort food. For years Watson’s had a fun, kitschy mid-century vibe with booths and a long stainless steel counter with stools. In 2016 a new owner completely gutted and renovated the restaurant, bringing the interior back to its original turn of the century roots. The original tin ceilings were uncovered, new neon was added to the front and an old-time feeling wooden bar was added with more neon. The decor features vintage pharmacy items, newspaper wallpaper, old tin signs and vintage product packages.
(1915) Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain 1526 Mission, S Pasadena, CA 91030.
Genuine, old school soda fountain/pharmacy. It opened in 1915 as Raymond’s Pharmacy in the same location that it stands today. It has an old fashioned feeling inside with embossed tin ceilings and wood floors. Serving ice cream treats and diner food.
(1918) Golden Spur 1223 East Route 66, Glendora, CA 91740.
Classic mid-century steakhouse on Route 66 that started as a horse ride-up burger stand. Amazing vintage sign of a cowboy boot with spur attached & great vintage interior.
(1919) Musso & Frank Grill 6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Old Hollywood classic; red leather & wood booths, amazing signs, vintage American food. It is the oldest surviving restaurant in Hollywood, established in 1919. The Fettuccine Alfredo is the original recipe brought to the U.S. back in the 1920s by silent film stars Mary Pickford & Douglas Fairbanks. They supposedly brought the recipe back from a restaurant in Rome called Alfredo’s & would have Musso’s prepare it for them.
(1921) Pacific Dining Car 1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017.
Upscale 24-hour steakhouse in a recreated and ornately decorated train car. Originally opened on the corner of 7th St and Westlake Ave in 1921 by Fred and Lovey Cook, it moved to 6th St and Witmer in 1923. More rooms and a larger bar area was added to the existing train car in the 1930s to 1940s. Ambiance is elegant with wood beamed ceilings, stained glass, chairs covered in deep green velvet, leather booths and luggage racks with vintage baggage in the main room to further carry the train theme. Prices are not cheap, but the atmosphere is also rich with history. It is still owned by descendants of the original owners.
(1922) Tam O’Shanter 2980 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039.
Tam ‘O Shanter, opened in 1922. It was built in the storybook style by architect Harry Oliver, who also did the Witch’s House in Beverly Hills. It is the oldest restaurant/pub continuously operated by the same family in Los Angeles. Walt Disney, Fatty Arbuckle & Mary Pickford were regulars. Classic Scottish steakhouse with ornate interior.
(1924) Original Pantry Cafe 877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017.
Cash-only coffee shop serving traditional American food open 24-hours-a-day that claims to have never closed during nearly 100 years in business. Originally located at 9th & Figueroa, in 1950 the Pantry moved to its current location one block away to make room for a freeway off-ramp. The interior is diner-like, with a long counter with stools, old fashioned enamel tables, exposed cooking area, wood paneling, hanging globe lamps and vintage photography on the walls.
(1924) Joe Jost 2803 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804. Established as a barber shop & pool hall. Serving sandwiches and pickled eggs since prohibition was appealed, this old-time tavern features a wooden bar, wood booths and a pool room full of memorabilia. Founded by Joe Jost, a Yugoslavian immigrant, the pub is now run by his grandson.
(1925) Bay Cities Italian Deli 1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Classic old school Italian market serving deli sandwiches on bread baked on premises. Known for the “Godmother” sandwich, first created in 1952. The exterior was given a modern era remodel in 2010. Outdoor picnic table seating.
(1926) Greenblatt’s Delicatessen 8017 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046.
Authentic brick fronted eat-in Jewish delicatessen with bakery and deli meat cases. It has kept its vintage integrity. Originally built a few doors down, where the Laugh Factory is now located.
(1926) Lanza Brothers Market 1803 N Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90031. Tiny, authentic neighborhood grocery market that serves up much beloved Italian deli sandwiches in a still rough and tumble area near downtown. The neighborhood was an original Little Italy through the teens and 1920s and this is one of the few pieces left, along with nearby San Antonio Winery. A few cafe tables outside of this vintage brick building are available for curbside eating.
(1927) El Cholo 1121 Western Ave Los Angeles, CA 90006.
The oldest surviving Mexican restaurant to have stayed located in the same location in Los Angeles. It was first opened on Broadway downtown in 1923 as the Sonora Cafe and became El Cholo in 1925. The current El Cholo on Western Ave was opened two years later and originally had 8 stools and 3 booths. The restaurant is still owned by the descendants of the original owners.
(1927) Barney’s Beanery 8447 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Barney’s Beanery had its start in Berkeley, CA in 1920. It moved to its current location in West Hollywood in 1927, when Santa Monica Blvd was still a dirt road and was surrounded by poinsettia fields. It was always a shack or roadhouse with wooden walls & floors, and still hasn’t changed much. In the early days it was frequented by actors like Clara Bow, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Clark Gable and more. In the 1960s it became a hangout for musicians like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, who favored booth #34. The bright yellow & orange sign was most likely installed in the ’60s, along with the cool multicolored booths of thick orange/yellow/pink/beige stripes. Barney’s has always been known for their large selection of beer, hamburgers & chili, but they slightly scaled down the menu about 4 years ago.
(1928) La Golondrina Mexican Cafe 17 Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
One of the earliest Mexican restaurants to open in Los Angeles. It was originally opened in 1924 as La Mision Cafe on Spring St. by Consuelo Castillo de Bonzo, a widow who had emigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles in 1899. La Mision was demolished to build City Hall and in 1928 moved to Olvera Street, the oldest street in the city. Olvera Street was getting a re-birth at the time by a wealthy socialite who was fashioning it into a tourist destination full of shops and restaurants. La Mision was renamed La Golondrina, after a popular Mexican song. It is located in the oldest brick building in LA, Pelanconi House, which was built in 1855.
(1929) The Rock Inn 17539 Elizabeth Lake Rd, Lake Hughes, CA 93532.
With a castle-like exterior built of river rocks this inn serves American food and burgers.
(1929) Eastside Market & Italian Deli 1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Old-fashioned, tried and true Italian-American deli, opened in 1929 as a market, located in the hills above Chinatown, not far from Dodger Stadium. With a busy and authentic deli counter serving up huge cold-cut sandwiches on crusty bread, Italian dishes and cannoli, it has had minimal remodeling and remains true to the past. The dining area has a handful of wooden tables and chairs, concrete floors, framed historical photos and atmospheric ceiling fans. It gets crazy crowded at lunch time, but the rest of the time it’s pretty mellow.
(1930) Brighton Coffee Shop 9600 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Corner coffee shop with vintage sign serving breakfast and American, Korean & Mexican food.
(1931) Canter’s 419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Canter’s began its Los Angeles journey when this Jewish deli opened in Boyle Heights in 1931. It moved to its current location in 1953 and the mid-century decorative touches have remained much the same since it opened. With bakery cases in the entryway filled with delicious treats, amazing original neon signs, a diner area with booths and an attached ’50s style lounge, it is happily stuck in time.
(1931) El Coyote 7312 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
El Coyote Restaurant was originally opened in 1931 by Blanche & George March. It started as a tiny cafe on La Brea & 1st Street, but relocated to its present location in 1951. With original mid-century signs, multi-colored bottle glass windows, burgundy leather booths, vintage light fixtures and a separate bar room, it is one of the best known original old-school Mexican restaurants left in the city. Its story includes the dark history of having served Sharon Tate and her friends their last meal in 1969 before they went home and were murdered by the Manson family hours later. The “Sharon Tate Booth” still remains and is part of the restaurant’s folklore.
(1931) Halfway House Cafe 15564 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390. Casual, old country diner with rustic wood walls. Great Western-style exterior & vintage sign. Was a halfway trading post between L.A. & Palmdale in the early 1900s.
(1933) Jack’s Whittier Restaurant 13221 Whittier Blvd, Whittier, CA 90602.
Great sign at this vintage diner which has renovations & recently had a “retro” re-decoration.
(1934) The Galley 2442 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405.
The oldest bar/restaurant in Santa Monica, opened in 1934 on Main Street, which until a few decades ago, before gentrification, was the city’s skid row. It is eccentrically decorated with a nautical theme and is dark, cozy, with sawdust on the floor and nooks & crannies. It serves steak and sea food and has a reasonable happy hour.
(1934) Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620. Remodeled chicken restaurant that evolved from the initial berry farm & grew into the amusement park; just outside the gates of the park.
(1934) Magee’s Kitchen 6333 West Third Street, #624 Los Angeles, CA 90036.
The first restaurant in the Original Farmer’s Market is known for its corned beef.
(1934) Cielito Lindo 23 Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 Tiny walk-up food stand on Olvera Street specializing in taquitos, but also selling burritos. It began in the 1930s as a few picnic tables and a shed.
(1936) Tom Bergin’s Public House 840 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Opened for business in 1936 and has the 2nd oldest liquor license (dated 1935) in all of Los Angeles County. This place was originally located at the corner of Wilshire & Fairfax, where LACMA now stands, and was called Tom Bergin’s Old Horseshoe Tavern & Thoroughbred Club. It moved to its present location, a block away, in 1945. Tom was a former WWl Navy pilot and lawyer. He built this place to resemble the Irish pubs of his Boston youth that he sorely missed and he ran it himself until 1972. Inside feels unpretentious and echoes with history, with wood walls, brick floors, thick, multi-colored bottle-glass windows, and a sturdy, wooden horseshoe-shaped bar. The dining room has a triangular peaked Tudor ceiling, a big brick fireplace and more stained glass. The vibe is comfortably vintage and very laid back, except on St. Patrick’s Day, which, as you can imagine, is nuts. The ceiling in the bar is covered with thousands of paper shamrocks, inscribed with the names of favorite patrons, a tradition that started in 1957. Tom Bergin’s closed for 6 months in mid-2013, but thankfully a new owner picked up that old liquor license soon after. On a side note, patrons regularly smell cigarette smoke around the bar stool that was once Tom’s “spot.” An ashtray is kept there for old time’s sake.
(1937) Damon’s Steak House 317 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203.
Elaborately decorated Polynesian steakhouse originally on Central Blvd; moved to this location in 1980.
(1937) El Patio Cafe 34226 Doheny Park Rd, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624.
Brightly colored, quaintly decorated cafe with vintage neon sign serving classic Mexican food.
(1937) Mitla Cafe 602 N Mt Vernon Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92411.
A landmark on Rte 66, this small Mexican cafe is where Glen Bell “borrowed” the taco recipe for Taco Bell.
(1938) Du-par’s 6333 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Began as an 8-seat stall in the Original Farmer’s Market, this restaurant was founded by James Dunn & Edward Parsons, who combined their last names to create the name Du-Par’s. This comfort food diner now has several locations.
(1938) Lawry’s 100 N. La Cienega Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
Elegant steakhouse in a modernistic building from 1947-1993. In 1993 they moved into a newly built structure.
(1938) The Derby Restaurant 233 Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006.
Near the Santa Anita racetrack, it evolved out of the Proctor Tavern which opened in 1922. It was opened in 1938 by horse jockey George Woolfe, who raced Seabiscuit. It is a serious steakhouse filled with cool old horse racing memorabilia.
(1939) Harbor House Cafe 16341 Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach, CA 90742.
A seaside, converted beach cottage serving diner food and filled with vintage memorabilia.
(1939) Pink’s Hot Dogs 709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Pink’s Hot Dogs has stood on the corner of Melrose & La Brea in Los Angeles since 1949. It was originally started in 1939 by Paul & Betty Pink, who sold 10¢ chili dogs out of a pushcart at the same corner. Known for their long lines and sausages named after celebrities, the little shack is a true icon of the city. A small eating area has walls covered with framed actor’s headshots and there are outdoor eating tables in the back.
(1939) Sariñana’s Tamale Factory 2216 W 5th St, Santa Ana, CA 92703.
Opened in 1939 in a tiny former house and is the oldest surviving Mexican restaurant in Orange County. Their tamales rock, but their homemade hot sauce rocks even more. It is a little shack in Santa Ana with 6 picnic tables inside & counter ordering.
(1939) Sycamore Inn 8318 E Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730.
Fine steakhouse dining on Route 66. Built on the spot of the 1848 Mountain View Inn.
(1939) Newcomb’s Ranch Angeles Crest Highway 2, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011. Originally built in 1939 this rustic roadhouse, at the snowline up mountainous Angeles Crest, was rebuilt after a 1976 fire. With a wooden exterior, pine board walls and a bar.
(1939) Vince’s Market 3250 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Started as a small Italian market with deli case, Vince’s originally shared their space with a barber & beauty shop. In 1946 they took over the whole building and expanded their menu. With old school signs and funky exterior murals, they have an authentic neighborhood feel.
(1940) Ricci’s Italian Restaurant 17317 Bellflower Blvd, Bellflower, CA 90706. Authentic, casual neighborhood Italian-American restaurant with a basic, old school feel and a deli counter in the front room. The last remodel appears to be late ’60s or early ’70s with orange leather booths, touches of wood paneling and textured gold glass booth dividers.
(1940) Tal’s Cafe 2701 W Florence Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90043. Old fashioned Southern-style diner in South Central L.A. serving homey breakfasts and lunch. Located in a building constructed in 1947. Its remarkably unaltered interior features wood paneling, exposed brick walls, an original-appearing green linoleum floor, an original counter with stools, booth seating and vintage hanging globe lamps.
(1941) Polo Lounge 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Inside the Beverly Hills Hotel, built 1918. Classic, but pricey food; Hollywood star history.
(1941) Snug Harbor 2323 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Small, authentic early 1940’s diner with a small counter and a few booths.
(1941) Bun ‘N Burger 1000 E Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801. Authentic neighborhood diner serving American & Mexican food in a deco-style corner building with great neon. Interior has red booths & counter stools, ’50s formica tables, a black and white checkered floor and walls covered with vintage memorabilia.
(1943) Twohey’s 1224 N Atlantic Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801.
Twohey’s on the corner of Atlantic & Huntington Drive in Alhambra originally opened in Pasadena in 1943. This coffee shop/hamburger joint moved to Alhambra in the 1950s. Its current building was built in 1977. The logo “Little Stink-o” with a clothes pin on his nose & tears down his face was created in 1943 when the owner, Jack Twohey, heard a lady exclaim, “Oh Stinko” about the hamburger of the guy beside her, loaded with onions & pickles.
(1944) Walker’s Cafe 700 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731.
Classic vintage family-run dive cafe, a biker favorite. Located on an ocean side cliff.
(1944) Carillo’s Tortilleria 1242 Pico St, San Fernando, CA 91340. Small self-serve style restaurant with casual seating that grew out of a family owned hand made tortilla factory. Known for their tamales, menudo & homemade tortillas.
(1944) Art’s Chili Dog 1410 W Florence Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90047. Small, but notable hot dog shack on the corners of Florence & Normandie (where the riots started in ’92). Originally opened at another location in 1939. Great neon signs.
(1945) Nate ‘n Al 414 N Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Established Jewish deli with brown leather booths and a glass enclosed deli case.
(1945) Barone’s Pizzeria 13726 Oxnard St, Valley Glen, CA 91401.
East coast Italian. Moved in 2006 into the former space of the defunct Old Heidelberg. Amazing original 1958 vintage interiors & lounge. This location is known for a scene in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.
(1946) Billingsley’s 11326 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Steakhouse opened in 1946 by Glenn Billingsley, the husband of “Leave it to Beaver” Mom Barbara Billingsley. It was originally called Billingsley’s Golden Bull. Dark wood & red leather booths. Their sons have owned the restaurant since 1974. It was remodeled in 2016.
(1946) Chili John’s 2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506.
Vintage diner with a U-shaped counter serving only chili items. The 2nd location of 1913 Wisconsin restaurant.
(1946) Clearman’s Steak ‘n Stein 9545 E Whittier Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660.
Old European-themed kitschy steak house with a circular, stone fireplace, dark red colors, wood, chandeliers and stained glass. The owner, John Foley Clearman, was a creative man who seemed to want to be noticed. Born in New York City in 1906 and raised in Coronado, California, he graduated from Yale in 1929 with a degree in theater. A trained Shakespearean actor, Clearman spent several years during the Great Depression on the road with traveling productions. He once was quoted as saying, “A good restaurant has a longer run than a good play” and abruptly changed career paths to reinvent himself as a restaurant owner. In 1946, at age 40, he opened his first restaurant, Clearman’s Steak ‘n Stein. He also went on to create the The Magic Lamp, and the fabulous Clearman’s Northwoods Inns.
(1946) Jolly Jug 4264 Peck Road, El Monte, CA 91732.
One half is an intact vintage diner and the other side is a bar. Amazingly spectacular original signage.
(1946) Chris & Pitts 9839 Artesia Blvd, Bellflower, CA 90706.
Amazing signage and a faux log cabin painted exterior It is among only 3 remaining restaurants of a BBQ chain that once included over 20 locations, all over Southern California. The chain was started in 1940 by Chris Pelonis, the son of a Greek immigrant. He scraped up $200 to start a business and the first location (now gone) was in Lynwood. The other remaining locations are on Lakewood Ave in Downey (opened 1953) and on Washington Blvd in Whittier. This location was the 4th location opened. Inside is casual, authentic & old school, with burgundy leather booths, a counter to eat at, original red linoleum floors, wood paneled walls & tons of country kitsch, including shot guns & taxidermy. There is a walk-up pick-up window out front.
(1946) Nick’s Coffee Shop 8536 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035.
Authentic vintage diner with original sign & interior. Brown leather booths, laminate wood counter.
(1946) Original Tommy’s Hamburgers 2575 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057.
Original walk-up stand of a hamburger chain with over 30 Southern California locations.
(1946) Hot ‘n Tot 2347 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717.
Old school diner with remodeled interior. Great neon appears to be from the 1960s.
(1946) Paul’s Kitchen 1012 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Chinese-American food served in a neighborhood that was once called City Market Chinatown, a working man’s area of several square blocks that popped up after L.A.’s original Chinatown was razed in the 1930s to built Union Station. The Chinese element in the neighborhood began to fade in the 1970s. Owned by the nephew of the restaurant’s original owner, Paul, it is one of only two Chinese businesses left in the neighborhood. The interior features two rooms with brown vinyl booths, wood laminate tables, a long faux wood grain counter, hanging globe lamps, Chinese window shades and a plethora of Dodgers memorabilia. In fact Tommy Lasorda became a regular customer beginning in the 1970s.
(1946) The Smoke House Restaurant 4420 Lakeside Dr, Burbank 91505.
Vintage steakhouse and lounge; red leather booths, original signs. Moved to this location in 1949.
(1946) Rod’s Grill 41 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia, CA 91007.
Well-preserved mid century diner with turquoise leather booths, laminate tables & river rock exterior.
(1946) Vince’s Spaghetti 1206 W Holt Blvd, Ontario, CA 91762.
Opened in 1945 as a French Dip stand, started serving spaghetti the next year. Amazing sign, casual interior.
(1946) Gus’s Barbecue 808 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030.
Opened on Fair Oaks Ave in South Pasadena in 1946 by three relatives from Cleveland, Ohio and was named after the eldest one, Gus. The location had previously been a diner called Hamburger Macs. The interior was tastefully renovated with a vintage slant in 2007, but the neon sign out front is original. It now belongs to two brothers who also own another Pasadena vintage restaurant, the Original Tops.
(1946) Pecos Bill’s BBQ 1551 Victory Blvd, Glendale, CA 91201. Tiny, authentic BBQ shack with a take-out window serving a limited meat-centic menu. Great old sign and a few plastic tables set up on the sidewalk.
(1947) The Apple Pan 10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064.
Classic burger & pie diner in a small house with a U-shaped counter, red leather stools & vintage signs.
(1947) Langer’s Delicatessan 704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057.
Respected Jewish deli, noted for pastrami; vintage signs, mid-century tile work, booths & counter.
(1947) Valley Inn Restaurant 4557 Sherman Oaks Ave, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.
Old school steakhouse with round black leather booths and an attached vintage bar.
(1947) The Great White Hut 121 W California Ave, Glendale, CA 91203.
Tiny, longtime corner burger & taco stand with stool seating. Painted with retro themes. The Great White Hut is a tiny hamburger and taco stand that has held its place on a corner in Glendale since 1947. With stool seating and painted with retro themes (a full size mural of James Dean always fools me into thinking it is a real person as I walk by), it is a rare slice of the past in this neighborhood where the old keeps being replaced with the new.
(1947) Santa Fe Importers 1401 Santa Fe Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813. Market and Sicilian deli serving take-out sandwiches and Italian meals. Old fashioned exterior, remodeled interior with stools and counter eating.
(1947) A-1 Imported Groceries 348 W 8th St, San Pedro, CA 90731. Italian market and deli specializing in sandwiches. Old school sign and river rock exterior.
(1948) HMS Bounty 3357 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
Kitschy nautical-themed bar & grill with red leather booths, a wooden bar & port holes in the walls. It originally opened in 1948 and was called the Gay Room because it is part of the Gaylord Hotel. It was remodeled with a very cool nautical theme in 1962 and renamed after the famous ship.
(1948) Nick’s Cafe 1300 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Nick’s Cafe on Spring Street near Chinatown in L.A. is an old-school authentic roadhouse-style diner with wood paneled walls. It thankfully hasn’t been touched in decades. Opened in 1948 it has a single U-shaped counter with seats & serves only breakfast & lunch.
(1948) Du-pars 12036 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604.
Second branch of the Farmer’s Market diner; homey with leather & wood booths, chandeliers, ornate carpeting.
(1948) Cindy’s Eagle Rock 1500 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041.
Diner with orange leather booths & stools, vintage lighting and restored original signs.
(1948) Factor’s Famous Deli 9420 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. Jewish Deli with booth-style seating, walls of sports memorabilia and a retro ’70s appearing sign out front.
(1948) Domingo’s Italian Deli 17548 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316. Market selling Italian products and deli food. Serves sandwiches, antipasti and Italian desserts in a room with a few eat-in tables and an outdoor patio. Although its has been somewhat modernized it still has a genuine feel.
(1948) Roma Deli 6449 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606. Old school Italian deli, now on its third owner, serving big sandwiches, pizza and Italian food, plus cannoli. Exterior has a vintage river rock front and a slight castle-like appearance. Inside has a very basic, no-frills eating area, but has enormous Roman-themed paintings randomly leaning up against the walls. Not connected to the Pasadena Roma Market.
(1948) Claro’s 1003 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776. Original location of authentic, family owned Italian market and deli chain that now total six stores. The building was constructed in 1937 and hasn’t had a major renovation since 1962. Opened by Joe Claro and his wife Mary in 1948 on Valley Blvd in San Gabriel. It is a tried & true old fashioned Italian Market with a deli counter that serves classic Italian dishes, freshly made cold cut sandwiches, antipasto and other salads. There is also a bakery with Italian cookies, bread and cannoli. The inside hasn’t been updated much and has original concrete floors and wooden trellises hanging with plastic grapes. A second Claro’s opened in Arcadia in 1971, followed by four more stores in La Habra, Covina, Tustin & Upland. The stores are still run by Joe Claro’s grandchildren and their families.
(1949) Bob’s Big Boy 4211 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505.
Oldest remaining branch of the burger chain. It was designed by architect Wayne McCallister in what became known as the Googie style. The chain originally opened in 1936 as a 10-stool hamburger stand on Colorado Blvd in Glendale under the name “Bob’s Pantry.”
(1949) Miceli’s 1646 N Las Palmas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
The oldest Italian restaurant in Hollywood; brick, red leather, hanging chianti bottles & a piano bar. It has been owned by the same family since 1949. Many of the architectural elements inside were snagged from other historical Los Angeles places that went out of business.
(1949) Patsy D’Amore’s Pizza 6333 W 3rd St #448, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Italian food stand in the Original Farmer’s Market still run by Patsy’s daughter. He then ran the legendary Villa Capri in Hollywood which lasted from 1950-1982.
(1949) El Sarape 4023 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501.
Casual Mexican restaurant with tufted red leather booths and dark wood laminate tables.
(1949) Bill’s Taco House 219 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90011. Small fast food taco shop with molded laminate seating and a vintage sign out front.
(1949) Bobby’s Coffee Shop 22821 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364. Comfortable, old-time coffee shop/diner with red leather booths and formica tables.
(1950) Golden Bull Restaurant 170 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402.
Vintage steakhouse with burgundy leather booths and original sign.
(1950) La Chiquita Restaurant 906 E Washington Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
Small, no frills Mexican cafe with basic tables & chairs. Original vintage sign out front.
(1956) The Arsenal 12012 W Pico Blvd, L.A., CA 90064.
American bar food. The Arsenal has had many incarnations, but has been known as The Arsenal since 1956. Originally it had been a Spanish saloon called “El Arsenal” which was destroyed by a flood in 1916. In 1929 it was rebuilt as a speakeasy, featuring burlesque dancers, called “Le Hot Arsenal”. Then in 1949, as L’Arsenal, a French restaurant, it was destroyed again, this time by fire. It has had a few remodels over the years, but still has the original 1956 dining room.
(1951) Crab Cooker 2200 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663.
The Crab Cooker opened in 1951 on the Balboa peninsula of Newport Beach. Originally located on 28th Street, it moved to its current location on Newport Blvd, a former bank building, in 1961. Serving seafood in a casual environment, it is a popular restaurant, decorated with antiques and nautical knick knacks, including a full-size fiberglass shark hanging from the ceiling.
(1951) The Hat 1 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
Original location of the well-known pastrami chain.
(1951) Bamboo Inn 2005 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057. Opened in 1951, this well-worn diner-style Chinese restaurant is one of the oldest surviving Chinese restaurants in the whole greater L.A. & Orange County areas. The oldest I know of goes back to 1948. This place is small and extremely authentic. It has not been remodeled & still has the original wood paneled walls, burgundy booths and wood laminate tables. The prices are even from another era, with lunch specials under $5 and generous servings. The food is classic mid-century American Chinese cuisine, nothing groundbreaking, just simple & old fashioned.
(1952) Josie’s Place 16616 S Normandie Ave, Gardena, CA 90247.
Opened on Normandie Ave in Gardena in 1952. It is a small little shack with a take-out counter, wood paneled walls and a small display case of knick knacks. They specialize in authentic Mexican food. The little shack was built in 1940.
(1952) Steven’s Steakhouse 5332 East Stevens Place, Commerce, CA 90040.
Steven’s Steak House is a classic, old-school steakhouse with spectacular signs, tan colored leather booths, beveled glass & a vintage bar. Though the interior decorations and furniture have been remodeled over the years, the feel is a mish mash of mid-century meets gaudy ’80s, a definite time warp. Food is mid-century as well, large slabs of steak, some seafood choices, the typical iceberg salads and pasta with marina sauce.
(1952) Ernie’s Mexican Restaurant 4410 Lankershim Blvd, N. Hollywood, CA 91602.
Classic mid-century Mexican with two dining areas & a bar; dimly lit with leather booths.
(1952) Johnnie’s Pastrami 4017 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230. Famous pastrami shack serving American fast food take-out style. The small interior is reminiscent of a ’50s diner, with a wood laminate counter and a handful of tables with booth seating. They are long known for having a vintage jukebox on each table filled with oldies. The exterior has an amazing original neon sign, and additional picnic table seating with fire pits.
(1952) Tony’s on the Pier 210 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.
Opened with a small shack on the Redondo Beach pier in 1952 and redesigned and rebuilt between 1961-63 by the owner, an ex-fisherman named Tony Trutanich. It is an amazing mid-century landmark, with panoramic ocean views, tables with built-in fireplaces and an octagonal crow’s nest bar on top. The interior has a lot of wood, brick, vintage decor and lighting, original tables and chairs, and cool headshots of celebrities (mostly from the 1960s- ’70s) who have visited over the years. The exterior is two levels with amazing vintage signs on both sides. Tony passed away in 2007 and his widow now owns the restaurant. Known for their Mai Tai’s and seafood, the vintage beauty of this place is worth saving. There are no heirs that want to take over this gorgeous place, so visit while you can.
(1952) Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe 812 N Evergreen Ave, L.A., CA 90033.
Casual Mexican cafe with counter; vintage exterior river rock front & original sign.
(1952) Melody Bar & Grill 9132 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
Opened as a steakhouse in 1952, now a bar & restaurant. Vintage rock fireplace, red leather booths.
(1952) Tuxie’s 6030 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506.
Once a walk-up hamburger restaurant, it is now a taco shop under the same name. A great neon sign dates to 1955.
(1952) Ming’s Chinese Food 17812 Bellflower Blvd, Bellflower, CA 90706. Beautiful, original mid-century Chinese restaurant. The exterior of the building has Asian motifs, original signs, metal screens, a river rock wall in the entrance, and a red Chinese-style door. The outside wall is covered in gorgeous tiles of orange, red, and a graduating red/black color. Inside is like stepping back in time, with bright orange-red leather booths, dark wood laminate tables, wood ceilings and floors, along with Asian decorative touches.
(1952) Giuliano’s 1138 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247. Family owned Italian market and deli in a building constructed in 1947, with an outdoor eating area. opened on Gardena Blvd in Gardena in 1952 by Frances and Gaetano Giuliano. Although the inside has been remodeled over the years, the traditional glass cold cut and Italian food cases still reflect its past. Several Giuliano descendants still work at this location. The deli is known for its Torpedo Sandwich. Serving Italian sandwiches, pizza, pasta and fresh baked goods.
(1953) James Restaurant 739 Truman St, San Fernando, CA 91340.
Classic diner with a spectacular neon sign, burgundy leather booths & stools and a wood laminate counter.
(1953) Larry’s Chili Dog 3122 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505.
Amazing vintage neon accentuates this basic hot dog stand. Outdoor patio seating only.
(1953) El Paseo Inn 11 Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 900121.
Classic Mexican opened in 1930 at another location; moved in 1953. From 1870-1914 this building was a winemaker.
(1953) Chronis Famous Sandwich Shop 5825 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022.
Walk-up sandwich stand in business since 1945. At this location since 1953. Original sign
(1953) Chris & Pitts 9243 Lakewood Blvd, Downey, CA 90240.
One of among only 3 remaining restaurants of a BBQ chain that once included over 20 locations, all over Southern California. The chain was started in 1940 by Chris Pelonis, the son of a Greek immigrant. He scraped up $200 to start a business and the first location (now gone) was in Lynwood. The other remaining locations are on Artesia Blvd in Bellflower (opened 1946) and on Washington Blvd in Whittier. This location was the 6th location opened. Inside is casual, authentic & old school, with moss green colored leather booths, a wooden counter to eat at, brick floors, wood paneled walls and ceiling & tons of country kitsch. There is a pick-up window just inside for To-Go orders.
(1953) Taylor’s Steakhouse 3361 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005.
Begun as a Los Angeles pub with the name Taylor’s Tavern opened in 1953. It was originally located on the corner of Olympic & Western, but moved to its present location on 8th and Ardmore in the L.A. neighborhood Koreatown in 1970. Still owned by the son of the original founders, the interior of this mid-century steakhouse is like a step back in time. Dark inside, even on L.A.’s brightest afternoons, its deep brown wood, burgundy semi-circular leather booths and brick walls give the suggestion of martinis and film noir. A long wooden bar of black tufted leather enables you to complete this request.
(1953) McDonald’s 10207 Lakewood Blvd, Downey, CA 90241. The oldest working location of the fast food chain. The original architecture is unchanged; an incredible animated neon sign of their first mascot, Speedee, was added in 1959.
(1953) Ye Loy Chinese Food 9406 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780. Old school Americanized Chinese served at a small restaurant with red leather booths, wood and traditional Chinese decorative touches.
(1953) Mickey’s 101 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. First authentic Italian market and deli opened in the South Bay, by “Mickey,” a Korean War vet returned from service. It is now owned by his son. Serving Italian sandwiches, pizza and pasta in a market area with a communal table and additional outdoor seating. Unfortunately some of the great vintage signs were recently replaced with modern ones, but luckily some of the exterior vintage detail remains.
(1954) The Bear Pit 10825 Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills, CA 91345.
BBQ restaurant first opened in Newhall in the 1940s, it moved to this location in 1954. Beamed ceilings, wagon wheel light fixtures, saw dust on floor. Country singer Tennessee Ernie Ford was its early celebrity endorser.
(1954) Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse 1833 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041.
Old school Italian; red semi-circular booths, dim lighting, an attached bar & jazz acts.
(1954) Dresden Restaurant 1760 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Classic mid-century steakhouse & lounge. Leather booths, river rock walls, preserved vintage.
(1954) Domenico’s Italian Restaurant 5339 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803. Dimly lit with red leather booths, dark wood and stained glass. Great neon signs. This is the oldest surviving full service restaurant in Long Beach.
(1954) Petrillo’s 833 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776. Classic pizza parlor serving Italian dishes. An amazing vintage exterior, with several cool signs. Their interior is partially remodeled, but still has black leather booths and a cool, kitschy trellis with stained glass lamps overhanging them to make it feel old school authentic.
(1954) Ramona’s Mexican Food Products 6900 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90003. Opened in 1954 on San Pedro St in a rough around the edges part of Huntington Park. Serving fast food Mexican food take-out style, this place always has huge lines and is a neighborhood favorite. The restaurant got its start in 1947 out of a house at Temple & Beaudry before moving to this location in ’54 and opening another in 1962 on Western Ave in Gardena. The interior here has been completely modernized, but it still has a somewhat vintage exterior and old school plastic signs.
(1955) Magic Lamp Inn 8189 E Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. Steakhouse with incredible neon, true vintage interior; red leather booths, dark planked wood ceiling, stained glass and brick fireplace.
(1955) Fox’s 2352 N Lake Ave, Altadena, CA 91001.
Quaint, family owned cafe serving breakfast and brunch in a small house. Cool original fox sign out front.
(1955) The Venice Room 2428 S Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754.
A dark, romantically moody restaurant and bar that seems frozen in time. With both deep burgundy & black semi-circular booths, wood laminate tables, knobby wood detailing, red table lamps, velvet flocked wallpaper and old school murals of Venice, Italy, inside this windowless steakhouse, it could be day or night. The bar area is just as vintage and even has a piano for when the mood is right. The exterior has fabulous vintage neon and the original 1950s facade. Although the ambiance is perfect, it is not the thing that stands out most here. This place is known for grilling your own steak. It is an odd & fun custom that is absolutely unique in old L.A. American restaurants. Just bring the raw steak you order to the built-in hibachi, season it to your liking, and then grill. But try not to forget about it as you nurse your martini…
(1955) Casa Bianca Pizza Pie 1650 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041.
Family-owned Chicago Italian pizzeria. Amazing original neon sign, casual old school vibe.
(1955) Chips Restaurant 11908 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250.
Original Googie diner with spectacular sign & wavy roof line serving classic diner food. The building was designed by architect Harry Harrison.
(1955) Sire Bar & Grill 6440 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506.
The Sire Bar & Grill was opened in 1955 in Riverside, CA. This small dive bar/restaurant has wood paneled walls, rust colored leather bucket seats, a padded bar, wood laminate tables and a brick fireplace. It serves American food, burgers, sandwiches and weekend breakfasts. Outside is this gorgeous vintage horseshoe neon sign.
(1955) Joyce’s Coffee Shop 8826 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324. Old school diner-style coffee shop. Vintage signs, burgundy leather booths & formica tables.
(1955) Uncle Bud’s Kitchen 16636 Clark Ave, Bellflower, CA 90706. Tiny house with limited counter seating and a few tables. Vintage ’70s interior with wood paneled walls, mid-century table and chairs, thrift market kitsch decor and a laminate eating counter with stools. Serves breakfast only until 11:30am. The real Uncle Bud was a cook in the Korean War who returned home to open this restaurant and then passed on the business to the current owner.
(1956) Casa Vega 13301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
The entrance walls are made of river rock, with a heavy carved wooden door. Inside is a dark, romantic Mexican restaurant with burgundy leather booths, brick walls and great original neon signs.
(1956) Little Toni’s 4745 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602. Opened in the mid-’50s in place of Cottage Italia and serving Italian-American food, this restaurant has an authentic old school vibe. Dark, with red leather booths, stained glass, wood & Italian inspired decor.
(1956) Neptune’s Net 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265.
Take-out seafood ocean side. The restaurant side is original from 1956 and the rest has been added.
(1956) The Munch Box 21532 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311.
Tiny walk-up hamburger stand with jet-age sloped roof; made a historic-cultural monument in 2003.
(1956) Otomisan 2506 1/2 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033.
Cozy diner with three booths and counter seating. It may very well be the oldest surviving Japanese restaurant in the whole Los Angeles area. Boyle Heights became a Japanese community in the 1950s after Japanese citizens were released from forced U.S. WWll internment camps. The neighborhood is now primarily Mexican and this restaurant is one of the few remainders of its Japanese history.
(1956) Beeps 16063 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91406. Small, authentic 1950s diner with window/counter service and a few booths. It is jam-packed with memorabilia. Fun, eccentric atmosphere and extensive menu. Great exterior neon.
(1956) Domenick’s Pizza House 24209 Avalon Blvd, Carson, CA 90745. Old school, casual Italian restaurant with wood ceilings and burgundy leather booths, an original polished red linoleum floor, brick walls, paneled wood and vintage Italian-American restaurant decorations. A vintage sign out front is ’60s-’70s era.
(1956) The Original Park Pantry 2104 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803. Original 1950s vintage building with a great neon sign. Serving American diner-style food. The inside has been somewhat redecorated, but still keeps an old school integrity.
(1957) Safari Room 15426 Devonshire St, Mission Hills, CA 91345. Mid-century steakhouse with black leather semi-circular booths, wood beamed ceiling, an attached bar and safari-themed art work. Original sign features a dancing African warrior.
(1957) Art’s Delicatessen 12224 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604.
Traditional Jewish deli. Its had some remodeling, but displays one the original neon signs out front.
(1957) Galley Cafe 829 Harbor Island Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660.
Small, sunny diner with yellow leather booths and a view of the marina.
(1957) Norm’s Restaurant 470 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048.
Part of the 1949 founded chain, this Googie Armet & Davis designed location is the oldest left.
(1957) Antonio’s Pizzeria 13619 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. Opened in 1957 on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks. It is one of the oldest surviving Italian restaurants in the city and its appearance still reflects its vintage history. The exterior has an amazing sign in the shape of Italy and a front facing stained glass window. The interior has wood paneled walls, faux brick trim, green leather booths, and many kitschy details, such as Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, plastic grape leaves, red & white checked table cloths & murals of Italian vistas painted on the walls.
(1957) Ozzie’s Diner 7780 E Slauson Ave, Commerce, CA 90040. Classic, authentic ’50s diner with aqua colored booths, formica counter, an amazing original sign and a dark, cozy lounge with a wood bar tucked to the side.
(1958) Dal Rae 9023 E. Washington Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660.
Originally opened in 1951 at another location, this steakhouse has beautiful wood & black leather booths.
(1958) The Pizza Show 13344 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250. Casual Italian in an old school restaurant with red leather booths & vintage old world, rustic touches. The Beach Boys grew up a few blocks away & used to get pizza here after their gigs in the early ’60s. The inside is really cool- like a little old Italian courtyard, with doors & windows on the walls to look like a little village.
(1958) Sandwiches by Connal 1505 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104
This fast food sandwich stand opened in 1958 and has a local, casual feel. It has an indoor eating area that has been completely remodeled with a ’50s vibe, but still feels authentic. Two cool vintage signs hang out front.
(1958) Corky’s Restaurant 5043 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.
Authentic Googie diner with river rock exterior, vintage interior and cocktail lounge. Has had several name changes. It also has an old-school lounge attached called The Cork. Billy Joel used to play piano here in the ’70s
(1958) Pann’s Restaurant 6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
Iconic family-owned Googie diner with vintage interior and neon sign.
(1958) Rae’s Restaurant 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405.
Classic 1950s diner with red leather booths, vintage light fixtures, neon sign and exterior wall made of rock. Authentic neighborhood old school feel. Contrary to popular belief, there was no Rae. The name is derived from the initials of the names of the original owners: Ralph, his wife Alphonsine, and their daughter Eloise. The S is for their last name-Shipman.
(1958) Astro Family Restaurant 2300 Fletcher, Los Angeles, CA 90039 .
Mid-century Googie diner that changed names; opened as Donley’s Diner, then Conrad’s, Astro in 1974.
(1958) Frumento’s 214 W Beverly Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640. This is a brick fronted, old school deli serving sandwiches, deli case pasta dishes, Italian baked goods and salads. The counter and deli case have been modernized over the years, but the rest of the room is still pretty original, with polished cement floors, exposed air ducts and tables & chairs for eating. The market part sells packaged Italian food products. Frumento’s also serves scoops of gelato.
(1958) Jim’s Burgers #1 4660 Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201. The first of the Jim’s Burgers chain. Amazing vintage sign. Great late 1960s/early 1970s interior with a rock wall, knobbed wood work, wood laminate and molded booths. Serving fast food American and Mexican.
(1958) Original Pancake House 1418 E Lincoln Ave, Anaheim, CA 92805. First California branch of the nationwide pancake house that started in Oregon in 1953. It was gutted by fire and rebuilt in 1961. Still has vintage charm.
(1959) Chez Jay 1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Chez Jay was opened fourth of July weekend in 1959 on Ocean St in Santa Monica by a struggling actor from the east coast named Jay Fiondella. A combination bar/restaurant with red leather booths, wood paneled walls, port hole windows and a formica topped bar, it became a hangout of some of the coolest celebrities of the 1960s & 1970s: Richard Burton, Peter Sellers, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joe DiMaggio, Judy Garland, The Beach Boys, Jim Morrison and many more… Jay passed away in 2008, but the place has thankfully not changed a bit. It’s a little rough around the edges, but the interior is still exactly the same, along with saw dust on the floors and bowls of peanuts on the bar.
(1959) Dinah’s Family Restaurant 6521 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
Homey diner that’s been remodeled but keeps some vintage integrity.
(1959) Marty’s Hamburger Stand 10558 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064.
Tiny walk-up hamburger stand with original sign and a counter and stools for eating.
(1959) Tallyrand 1700 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91506.
American diner with a lunch counter and booths and a separate cocktail lounge.
(1959) Tito’s Tacos 11222 Washington Pl, Culver City, CA 90230.
Much beloved Americanized hard-shelled tacos served at an outdoor stand with notoriously long lines. The interior is remodeled fast-food simplicity with basic tables and ceiling fans. Picnic table seating is also available outside. A bright yellow plastic sign out front is likely ’70s era.
(1959) Red Lion Tavern 2366 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039. The Red Lion Tavern opened in 1959 on Glendale Blvd in Silverlake. It’s a kitschy German tavern that was originally opened by the owners of the even older Cole’s restaurant in downtown L.A. Although Red Lion was originally an Old English pub, it became German in 1963. With forest green leather booths, wood paneled walls, windows made of multi-colored bottles, waitresses in Oktoberfest-style cinched dresses and an extensive German beer list, this restaurant/bar is a local institution. The food is straight up traditional German- sausages, schnitzel and pretzels as big as your head. Check out the weird piano lounge act as well.
(1959) Tortilla Inn 18114 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91325. Old school, family-owned Mexican restaurant with a dimly-lit atmosphere, red leather booths and separate bar.
(1959) La Luz del Dia 1 Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Located in a historic building on L.A.’s oldest street, this Mexican restaurant serves from a take-out window and has a central dining room. It evolved from a Mexican market with the same name opened in 1915 at another location.
(1959) Cavaretta’s Italian Deli 22045 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91304. Opened in 1959 on Sherman Way in Canoga Park. A recent exterior remodel unfortunately removed the cool vintage sign & the mid-century river rock fronting. However, the interior has kept its authentic integrity with old school glass deli cases filled with Italian cold cuts, cookies, cannoli and a mish mash of collectibles crowding the walls. An area with baseball memorabilia commemorates a cousin, Phil Cavaretta, who played Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs from 1935 to 1954.
(1959) Pina Pizza House 11102 Paramount Blvd, Downey, CA 90241. Pina Pizza House is family owned pizza parlor, Downey’s oldest Italian restaurant. It was named after the family matriarch, Pina Persico, who founded the restaurant with her husband John in 1959. The interior is basic and casual, with a patchwork of decor styles, from the 1960s to the 1980s, including vintage wall and floor tile.
(1960) Jim’s Famous Quarterpound Burger 8749 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770. Vintage fast food burger joint on its second owner. Opened in 1960 on Valley Blvd in Rosemead, by “Jim” of course. Since 1997 they have a new owner, but they are still famous for their amazing & enormous banana milkshakes.
(1960) Paty’s Restaurant 10001 Riverside Dr, Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Remodeled retro diner patronized by celebrities. Near Warner Bros studios.
(1960) Yamashiro 1999 N Sycamore Ave, L.A., CA 90068.
Fine Japanese-style dining. Built in 1914, with romantic views and L.A.’s oldest structure- a 600 year-old pagoda.
(1960) El Indio Tortilla Factory 2523 Artesia, Redondo Beach, CA 90278. Casual family-owned Mexican food, with counter service and a no-frills dining area.
(1960) Domenico’s Italian Restaurant 2411 E Washington, Pasadena, CA 91104.
Casual Italian American. Family owned & run for three generations. Not connected to the Long Beach Domenico’s.
(1960) Compari’s Pizza 5490 W Centinela Ave, Westchester, CA 90045. In its original strip-mall location on Centinela Ave since 1960, Compari’s has a quaint, casual, old neighborhood feel. The exterior still has its original river rock front and the arrow part of its vintage neon sign is original. Serving Northern Italian-style pizza and pasta, the long, narrow interior is built to recreate an outdoor courtyard in Italy, a unique feature. The walls are brick, with windows, shutters and awnings to appear you are outside looking in. The ceiling and rear wall is completely and heavily covered with plastic grape vines, to give one the feeling of eating under a trellis. Other vintage decorations include original 1960s hanging lanterns and paintings of the Italian masters along the walls.
(1961) Casa de Pizza 16161 San Fernando Mission Blvd, Granada Hills, CA 91344. Casual, family-owned pizza joint. Though it has been remodeled “The Sinatra Room” honoring the famous crooner is quite a feature.
(1961) Harold’s House of Omelettes 2440 E Thousand Oaks, Thousand Oaks, 91362.
Serves omelettes as well as burgers, sandwiches and Mexican food.
(1961) Uncle Bill’s Pancake House 1305 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Located in a 1908 built house. American breakfast and lunch foods.
(1961) The Rock Store 30354 Mulholland Hwy, Cornell, CA 91301. Originally opened as a grocery store, it had been a stage coach stop in the 1910s. Rustic BBQ/Burger joint & motorcycle hangout. River rock facade and outdoor patio.
(1961) Mario’s Italian Deli 740 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205. Small & busy Italian market with authentic deli counter preparing Italian sandwiches and staples like lasagna & spaghetti; a few tables available for eating in.
(1961) Arthur’s Restaurant 8813 Lakewood Blvd, Downey, CA 90240. Authentic ’60s diner with wood paneled walls, olive green leather booths, wood laminate tables and original front sign.
(1961) Hinano Cafe 15 W. Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292. Breakfast & burgers.
Funky beach side shack that was one of Jim Morrison’s favorite hangs. Cement floors, loosely wood planked ceilings, pool tables & sawdust on the floor.
(1961) Ports ‘O Call Restaurant 1200 Nagoya Way, San Pedro, CA 90731. Opened as a waterfront Polynesian restaurant and originally surrounded by a man-made moat, the menu changed to steak and seafood in 1985 and has been remodeled.
(1961) Gardunos 2206 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640. Classic ’60s fast food architecture, with an amazing, brightly colored vintage sign and a dining area with brown vinyl booths.. Serving American & Mexican food.
(1961) Mama Petrillo’s Restaurant 9082 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780.
Family owned Italian; vintage wood paneled walls, red leather booths, trellises over the booth areas, a boxed trellis ceiling and original sign. Opened by the Petrillo family in 1961 who had relocated from Rochester, NY the year before. This is not to be confused with Petrillo’s in San Gabriel.
(1962) Tamarack Inn 9257 Slauson Ave, Pico Rivera, CA 90660. The Tamarack Inn opened in 1962, on Slauson Ave in Pico Rivera, CA. Located in a rustic, wood cabin-like building constructed in 1925, it is the perfect description of a tavern- a dark bar with tables, serving a full menu, heavy on the burgers, steak and BBQ. The inside is completely made of dark wood, from ceiling to walls to floors to bar to tables, giving it a well-worn authenticity that is impossible to replicate. Decorations include snow shoes on the ceiling, stained glass windows imbedded in the walls which let in small shafts of colored light, and old photographs. The exterior, also heavy dark wood, conveys exactly what you will find inside.
(1962) El Cholo 840 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, CA 90631.
Traditional Mexican served in a restaurant opened by the son of the owners of the original El Cholo on Western Ave.
(1962) La Cave 1695 Irvine Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627.
Old-school steak and seafood. Dark and romantic, located downstairs in a cellar. John Wayne was a regular.
(1962) Twin Dragon Shanghai Cuisine 8597 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
Mid-century style American Chinese food. Its exterior is ’60s modern and includes a fantastic Chinese pagoda-style entrance, but has modern remodeled interior.
(1962) Stox 9518 Imperial Hwy, Downey, CA 90242.
Old school diner which originally started as a 20-seat hamburger stand in Huntington Park that opened in 1954. The exterior is original early ’60s, with a river rock facade and original signs. The interior appears to have not been updated since the late ’70s. There is an attached bar/lounge area with the intriguing name “The Crystal Room.”
(1962) Viva Cantina 900 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91506.
Standard Mexican food in an equestrian setting. Live music.
(1962) Dear John’s 11208 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230.
American steakhouse. Classic, dimly lit ambiance; brick walls, leather booths, framed photos of famous “Johns”.
(1962) Taix 1911 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026.
French cuisine with stiff drinks. Opened in 1927 at another location. Romantic, mid-century setting with attached lounge.
(1962) Angelo’s Italian Restaurant 1540 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803. Italian food in an unassuming restaurant. A recent renovation took away the vintage.
(1962) Chee Chinese Restaurant 850 W Willow St, Long Beach, CA 90806. Classic 1960s restaurant architecture and an amazing vintage sign. The interior is old school utilitarian with booths, wood laminate tables & Chinese decorative touches.
(1962) Sorrento’s Restaurant 2428 Western Ave, San Pedro, CA 90732. Small, casual old school Italian-American restaurant with green leather booths, wood paneling and a Italian-themed mural in a circular inlay in the ceiling.
(1962) Cupid’s Hot Dogs 20030 Vanowen St, Winnetka, CA 91306. A small chain started in 1946 in North Hollywood, this walk-up hot dog stand has two vintage locations left. Both have a great heart-shaped sign.
(1962) Tops Jr 2407 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801. Small, old school walk-up fast food shack fronted with mid-century brick, serving pastrami, Mexican and American favorites. An offshoot of the Original Tops in Pasadena, opened 1952, but separately owned.
(1962) Chinese Garden 856 N Garfield Ave, Montebello, CA 90640. Cantonese-style Chinese food served in a brightly-lit, modernized dining room.
(1962) Ramona’s Mexican Food Products 13633 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90249. This is the second location of a fast food Mexican restaurant which opened in 1954 in Huntington Park. Ramona’s got its start in 1947 out of a house at Temple & Beaudry before opening their restaurants. This location still is amazingly vintage with beautiful tile work on both the exterior and throughout the interior, including the floors. The interior of the original Huntington Park location has been completely modernized, but both locations have their original plastic signs.
(1962) Pepe’s 511 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803. Walk-up and drive-through fast food shack serving Mexican. It has bright yellow 1960s built in picnic tables for outdoor eating.
(1963) Casita del Campo 1920 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Mexican cuisine. Opened by Broadway & Vegas dancer Rudy del Campo, who played one of the “Sharks” in West Side Story.
(1963) The San Franciscan 2520 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505.
Old school steakhouse. Vintage signage, red leather booths, classic early 1960s.
(1963) El Cid 4212 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029.
Spanish tapas, paella & sangria. Flamenco supper club. Dark, winding building built in 1925 with an interesting history.
(1963) The Castaway 1250 E Harvard Rd, Burbank, CA 91501.
Classic American food. Opened in 1963 as a nautical-themed restaurant with a view; rebuilt in 1994 after arson.
(1963) La Cabaña 738 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291.
Traditional Mexican food in a dimly lit room with mariachis serenading.
(1963) The Red Onion 736 Silver Spur Rd, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274.
Once a nationwide chain of Mexican American restaurants, this is the only survivor.
(1963) The Magic Castle 7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Upscale dining surrounded by vintage magic memorabilia at this members only club.
(1963) Pie ‘n Burger 913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106.
1960s diner with wood paneled walls, a long laminate lunch counter and colonial revival counter stools.
(1963) Andre’s Italian Restaurant 6332 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Tucked away in a shopping center on 3rd Street, near Fairfax., serving Italian food, including pizza and pasta, dished up cafeteria-style in a serving line with trays. Opened in the early ’60s by “Andre of Beverly Hills” as the second location of his pricey Wilshire Blvd Italian restaurant, this was the inexpensive younger sister. The fancy Andre’s closed in the late 1990s, but this hidden gem survives. Inside is spacious, with basic booths and tables. Most of the vintage has been modernized, but it still has a little bit of that old time feel.
(1963) Matteo’s 2321 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Italian food served in an elegant, upscale room with booths and white table cloths. Once known as a celebrity hang-out, the original owner was a buddy of Frank Sinatra’s.
(1963) The Capri 4604 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041.
Small, casual Italian restaurant owned by the same family until 1997. Remodeled a few years ago.
(1963) Sorrento Italian Market 5518 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230. Old school Italian market with authentic deli, serving sandwiches, Italian hot dishes and fresh bakery goods. Outdoor picnic tables for eating.
(1963) Casa Calderon 622 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776. Classic Mexican food in a building reminiscent of a castle, with a turret and large arched window. The interior has an authentic feel with original red and blue linoleum floors, mint green booths, pink walls and American colonial-style chairs.
(1964) Dan Tana’s 9071 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Iconic celebrity-studded Italian restaurant. Red leather booths, old school classic.
(1964) Lucy’s El Adobe Cafe 5536 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
Across from Paramount Studios, classic ’60s Mexican decor and occasional star sightings.
(1964) Pipers 222 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
Long standing diner with cool architectural lines; its interior was compromised in a remodel. One vintage sign is left facing Beverly Blvd.
(1964) Foxy’s Restaurant 206 W Colorado St, Glendale, CA 91204.
Diner in a cool A-frame building. Although the inside has been remodeled, vestiges of the ’60s remain with a cool river rock fireplace. Eating in the actual wooden, triangular A-frame section of the diner is unique. Their menu now is focused mainly on Southwestern food, but many breakfast choices too.
(1964) My Hero 9514 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324. Much beloved Mom & Pop submarine sandwich shop; counter & stools eating set-up. A “My Hero” wall of photos dedicated to harness racing & Northridge sports.
(1964) La Talpa 11751 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Small family owned Mexican restaurant with an amazing original neon sign of a man in a sombrero taking a siesta under a cactus. The simple interior is decorated with murals and a front facing stained glass window.
(1964) Giamela’s 3178 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Small, casual neighborhood Italian submarine shop founded in 1964, with several locations. The building was constructed in 1924 and hasn’t had a major reconstruction since 1952.
(1964) El Arco Iris 5684 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042. Open feeling Highland Park Mexican restaurant with remodeled interior and old school vintage sign. Family owned for 4 generations. (Announced they will be closing Spring 2017)
(1964) Arry’s Super Burgers 1015 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640. Casual hamburgers, pastrami and Mexican fast food in a non-descript mid-’60s building with an original vintage sign.
(1964) Fratone’s 9148 Telegraph Rd, Downey, CA 90240. Classic mid-century Italian restaurant serving mainly pizza and pasta. Exterior has ’60s brick and a heavy wooden door with colored glass inset. The interior still holds true to the 1960s flavor with original yellow linoleum floors, red flocked wallpaper, wood panelling, stained glass and padded booths. The decoration is old school Italian kitsch with red and white checked tablecloths, thatched awnings over the tables, fake plants and imitation Tiffany lights. Ordering is done at a window upon entering. Opened in a former grocery store by the Tesoriero family, immigrants from Sicily, the business is now owned by the original owner’s sons.
(1965) Le Petit Chateau 4615 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602.
French restaurant that looks like a mini castle, with partial river rock exterior. The interior is dark, with wood beams and a peaked thatched ceiling, olive green leather booths and wood detailing. The room is filled with French country knick knacks and the walls are vintage Tudor-style. This is subdued 1960s meets old world elegance. It is the perfect place for a romantic meal or a sequestered luncheon. A separate bar area is dark and old school as well. The food is fancy French, with relatively high prices.
(1965) Five Crowns 3801 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625.
Old English white-tablecloth styled steakhouse. Fine dining.
(1965) Mama Cozza’s Italian Restaurant 2170 W Ball Rd, Anaheim, CA 92804.
Mama Cozza’s restaurant opened in 1965 on Ball Rd in Anaheim. Serving old school Italian food and pizza, they have kept the remodels to a minimum and still have a vintage feeling. The exterior is trimmed with cut river rock, while the interior has wood paneled walls, Tiffany-style hanging stained glass lamps, dark green leather booths and the prerequisite red & white checked table cloths. Sports memorabilia and photos are a theme here with items displayed for decoration throughout the restaurant. An attached bar area has additional booth seating.
(1965) Tony Bella Vista Restaurant 3116 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505.
Opened on Magnolia Blvd in Burbank in 1965. The cuisine is classic Italian-American with huge pizzas and pasta dishes. Inside is straight up 1960s East Coast Italian decor with red leather booths, knobbed wood booth dividers, built in stained glass, plastic grape leaves, a stone fireplace, gold-veined mirror, wood beamed ceiling and low lighting. The vibe is comfortable and relaxing. The plastic sign out front and the stuccoed exterior, with mid-century lanterns, is all original.
(1965) Mexican Village 3668 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
Classic Mexican. Saltillo-tiles floors and traditional Mexican decor.
(1965) Franks Restaurant 916 W Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91506.
Classic mid-1960’s diner architecture. Button-tufted booths, wood laminate counters.
(1965) Woody’s Wharf 2318 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663.
Waterfront sea food restaurant with wooden booths and a vintage pier-like feel. Great sign.
(1965) The Steak Corral 11605 Washington Blvd, Whittier, CA 90606.
This is the last survivor of a kitschy ’60s steakhouse chain. Located in a low, ranch-style building, its mascot out front is a boy in a ten-gallon hat swinging a lasso. The old school Western touches are plentiful- horseshoe cutouts on the shutters, cow heads and rifles on the walls, hanging lanterns, child seats made from old saddles and even a wagon train over the salad bar, and amazing kitsch galore. The 1960s flavor remains with river rock walls, naugahyde booths and eating areas under shingled coves. Food is ordered cafeteria style and then brought by servers to the table and the prices are surprisingly old school too. The menu is obviously meat-centric, but there is a salad bar, baked potato bar and a great make-your-own-sundae bar too.
(1965) Phoenix Inn 301 Ord St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Old-school Americanized Chinese cuisine, the interior of the restaurant was renovated and modernized in 2010. Thankfully the mid-’60s signs out front remain
(1965) The Prospector 2400 E 7th St, Long Beach, CA 90804. A 1849 Gold Rush-themed steakhouse with an attached bar. It has amazing exterior murals and signs, including wood cutouts and a wishing well. Inside is dimly lit with old school booths, wood paneling, tons of mining/Old West/cowboy decorations and a lounge featuring live music.
(1965) Bill & Hiroko’s 14742 Oxnard St., Van Nuys, CA 91411.
Walk-up hamburger shack with stools and a small counter.
(1965) Capitol Burger 4301 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019.
Walk-up burger joint with great sign. No frills, back to basic.
(1965) Cupid’s Hot Dogs 9039 Lindley Ave, Northridge, CA 91325. A small chain started in 1946 in North Hollywood, this walk-up hot dog stand has two vintage locations left. Both have a great heart-shaped sign.
(1965) Quickie Dog/Taco Quickie 7716 Eastern Ave, Bell Gardens, CA 90201. Mid-’60s drive-through/walk-up hot dog & taco stand that started in adjacent buildings & merged into one building built in 1967. Cool original signs & vintage umbrella tables.
(1965) Captain Jack’s 16812 Pacific Coast Hwy, Sunset Beach, CA 90742. Opened in 1965 by surfboard pioneer & champion Jack Haley, this seafood restaurant still has a ’60s vibe with an exposed river rock exterior, a statue of a seafaring, peg-legged sailor on the front and original signs. With windows overlooking an adjacent canal, burgundy tufted leather booths, a piano lounge with a glowing fish tank, wooden ceilings, stained glass, port holes and tons of fishing ephemera, it has a cool, rustic nautical feel. Jack was a larger than life character who opened one of the area’s first surf shops in 1961 before opening this restaurant. He passed away in the year 2000 at age 65.
(1965) San Marino Grill 2494 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108. Family owned cash-only coffee shop opened by Walter Celic in 1965 and now owned by his children. It has kept true to its 1960s design with original exterior signs and an interior that seems untouched by time. It features a long wood laminate counter and tables, burgundy leather booths, stained glass hanging lamps, wood paneled walls, drop ceilings and clay tile floors.
(1966) La Paloma 2975 Foothill Blvd, La Verne, CA 91750.
Mexican food. Building constructed in 1928. Great sign and mid-century Mexican-style interior.
(1966) The Admiral Risty 31250 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275.
Once a cool sea food house, just underwent an unfortunate remodeling. Ocean views.
(1966) Clearman’s Northwoods Inn 7247 Rosemead Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91775.
Steakhouse food with a rustic, hunting lodge theme. Saw dust on floors & lots of kitsch.
(1966) La Dolce Vita 9785 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Pricey Italian. A Rat Pack favorite with brick walls, a dark interior, red leather booths & white tablecloths.
(1966) Benjie’s Deli 1828 N Tustin Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92705.
Traditional Jewish Deli. Authentic, with deep orange booths and counter seats, laminate wood and a deli case.
(1966) Al & Bea’s Mexican Food 2025 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033. Small, brick fronted house serving fast-food Mexican from a pick-up window. A few picnic tables allow eat-in dining.
(1967) Clearman’s Northwoods Inn 540 N Azusa Ave, Covina, CA 91722.
A replica of the 1966 San Gabriel branch; faux snow on the roof, stuffed bears and wood.
(1967) Los Toros Mexican Restaurant 21743 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311.
Traditional family-style Mexican restaurant with gorgeously tiled bar.
(1967) Brent’s Delicatessan 19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324.
Classic late ’60s Jewish deli with forest green & gold booths, etched glass, brick walls. They also serve a mean chocolate egg cream and are known for their decadent 7-layer chocolate cake.
(1967) Casa Escobar 2500 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403.
Classic Mexican. Extremely dark with semi circular red leather booths, brick walls and a vintage exterior.
(1967) Scarantino’s Italian Inn 1524 E Colorado St, Glendale, CA 91205.
Exterior brick facade. Casual Italian in a no frills room with red checkered table cloths.
(1967) Di Pilla’s Italian Restaurant 9013 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770.
Opened by Tonino and Guiseppina Di Pilla, who immigrated from Italy in 1958. In 1979 their daughter, Claudia (Miss Rosemead 1974), took over the business and still runs it today. The interior is perfectly old school Italian kitsch, with brick walls, wood paneling, burgundy leather booths and trellises galore. Plastic grapes and grape vines are strung from the ceiling throughout.
(1967) The Proud Bird 11022 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
American food. Aviation history themed under LAX flight path . Gutted in a 1984 arson fire & rebuilt. (Closed for renovation. Slated to re-open March 2017)
(1967) Pinnacle Peak 269 W Foothill Blvd, San Dimas, CA 91773. Located in a low, ranch style building with its name on a covered wagon & a cow statue on its roof, this casual restaurant bills itself as the working man’s steakhouse. Dark with wood paneling, a “no necktie” rule: ties are cheekily confiscated & hung from the rafters.
(1967) Taco Lita 120 E Duarte Rd, Arcadia, CA 91006. Americanized fast-food Mexican served in a spectacularly original late ’60s building. Bright orange tiled floors, blue molded plastic seats and original signs.
(1967) Lee’s Market 1908 E 110th St, Los Angeles, CA 90059. Small market in Watts with take-out window serving fried chicken, burgers, Mexican.
(1967) Zig’s 6821 White Oak Ave, Reseda, CA 91335. Neighborhood American diner food in a brightly-lit, utilitarian, late ’60s building.
(1967) Dinahs Chicken 4106 San Fernando Road Glendale, CA 91204. Mid-century fast-food restaurant serving chicken & comfort food. Great period building with late ’60s font along with a giant chicken bucket on a pole that was supposedly a predecessor to KFC’s. Remodeled inside with a country, home style touch.
(1967) Los Cincos Puntos 3300 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, L.A., CA 90063. Market and authentic carniceria specializing in homemade tortillas, hand carved carnitas, tamales and other Mexican food served take-out counter-style. It is named Cinco Puntos (Five Points) because of the 5 points of intersecting streets at Chavez (Brooklyn), Lorena and Indiana. It has a market-style set up with a take-out counter and is a popular neighborhood favorite. Because of that, lines get long during lunch time. There are a few outside and indoor tables for eating.
(1967) Rufino’s 938 Euclid St, Anaheim, CA 92802. Rufino’s Italian Restaurant opened in a strip mall in 1967 in Euclid St in Anaheim. It still has much of its vintage exterior, including a facade of multi-colored brick and columns built around the front door displaying the restaurant’s name. A modern plastic sign was recently added as well. Inside is festive and kitschy with black & white checkered floors, vintage black leather booths divided by trellises strewn with plastic grape leaves and Tiffany-style hanging lamps. One wall is all brick while the others are covered in murals depicting Italian scenes, including The Last Days of Pompei.
(1967) Canton City 121 N Garfield Ave, Montebello, CA 90640. Cantonese-style Chinese food in a casual, 1960s constructed dining room. Although its original vintage sign was replaced and the inside of the restaurant is partly redecorated, the dining room still has an old-school feel with turquoise booths, a rounded, sunken ceiling, Chinese decorative elements and chandeliers thrown into the mix. A mid-century river rock exterior is still fortunately original. This is among the oldest Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. The Asian population in SGV, Chinese in particular, began increasing significantly in the mid-1970s and are now the leading demographic in many San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods.
(1968) The Backwoods Inn 17884 Sierra Hwy, Canyon Country, CA 91351.
Rustic mid-century steakhouse with saw dust on the floor, wood, antiques & a bar built in 1978.
(1968) Brolly Hut 11205 Crenshaw Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90303. Spectacular vintage octagon-shaped building mimicking an umbrella, built in 1968 by architect Victor Miller, serving fast-food hamburger fair. Upside-down umbrellas serve as light fixtures, vintage mosaic tiles, built in orange and brown molded plastic tables and chairs, and an amazing original sign. The interior features expansive glass windows and ceiling beams that react the spokes of an umbrella. It was originally called the Bumbershoot Cafe, like Brolly, a slang for umbrella. Super cheap fast-food style breakfasts ordered from a take-out window & known for their pastrami.
(1968) Alpine Village 833 W Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90502. An eccentric collection of shops resembling an old European village surround this kitschy German restaurant in Torrance. Authentic, slightly weird and completely original, this sprawling old school place comes alive during Oktoberfest, but is relatively quiet most of the time. Serving traditional German food specialties and a giant selection of tap beer.
(1968) Folliero’s Italian Food and Pizza 5566 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042
A neighborhood favorite with brick walls and tiled floors.
(1968) Lares 2909 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Mexican food in a romantic environment. Two levels with beamed ceilings, wooden tables and chairs and an ornately carved wooden bar.
(1968) Mort’s Deli 18452 Clark St, Tarzana, CA 91356. Classic Jewish deli with original ’60s sign and brick fronted exterior. Inside there are green leather booths, laminate wood tables and also counter seating. A fabulous attached bakery called Bea’s is authentic, opened in the early ’60s, and has been at this location since the strip mall was built in 1968.
(1968) Pico Kosher Deli 8826 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. Deli serving Jewish kosher. Proclaims itself to be the very first kosher deli in Los Angeles. Great, worn vintage sign out front adds character. Green leather booths and tables.
(1968) Mitsuru Cafe 117 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Popular cafe located in what has been Japanese Village Plaza since 1984. Serving authentic and reasonably priced Japanese snack food, like red bean pancakes (imagawayaki) and shrimp/fish balls on a stick from a take-out window, there is also a diner serving traditional Japanese comfort food. The restaurant has original late-’60s knobbed wooden booths with brown leatherette padding, a drop ceiling and a long laminate eating counter. The exterior has a traditional Japanese wood slat facade and a modernized sign.
(1969) Harold & Belle’s 2920 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018. Crenshaw district Creole restaurant opened by New Orlean’s transplants Harold & Belle Legaux. It has been renovated several times; first in 1985 and then again in 2016. The interior is modern, with dark wood tables and hurricane glass lighting and a separate attached bar area.
(1969) House of Pies 1869 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Diner food. Homemade pie. Once a chain that had 32 in So Cal alone, this is the last one standing.
(1969) Lancers Restaurant 697 N Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502.
Late ’60s diner with lounge inside serving American food.
(1969) Jim Dandy Fried Chicken 11328 Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90044
(1969) Jim Dandy Fried Chicken 1824 W Manchester Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90047
Last two survivors of the ’60s-’70s national Southern-fried chicken chain. Cool signs.
(1969) The Cellar 305 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832. Classic fine dining.
A romantic cellar with cave-like brick walls designed by original Disneyland craftsmen.
(1969) Eat at Joe’s 400 N Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
No frills diner. Communal table seating.
(1969) Don Cuco 3911 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA 91505.
Old school Mexican food. A building dressed like a Spanish villa and a dark interior rich with stained glass and tile.
(1969) Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ 8136 Sepulveda, Van Nuys, CA 91402
Simple, rustic feeling BBQ joint with wood paneled walls and booth-styled seating. There is also a small outdoor seating area with 1960s original concrete tables. It was opened by Johnny Greene from Texas, a former Piggly Wiggly delivery boy. The name came about because his wife used to tease him telling him, “You’re not a Piggly Wiggly, but a Hogly Wogly.”
(1969) Francelli’s 3404 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90804.
Small and basic red checkered tablecloth place serving basic Italian-American food.
(1969) El Migueleno Restaurant 2301 Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007. One of the first Salvadorian restaurants to open in L.A. Basic modern interior & exterior.
(1969) La Villa Mexican Restaurant 15333 Crenshaw Blvd, Gardena, CA 90249. Mexican food in a bright brick & shingle building. Original neon sign; interior decoration leans toward late ’60s country cottage with a Southwest flavor.
(1969) La Poubelle 5907 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Classic French bistro food in a space with a solid wooden bar, dim lights and European inspired decor.
(1969) Taco Treat 74 East Live Oak, Arcadia, CA, 91006. Family owned fast-food Mexican served from a small take-out shack, built in 1950, with a cool old sign. They specialize in crispy, deep fried burritos. The original owner, Harold Morrow, who was also a South Pasadena postman, passed away in 2011. Taco Treat is now owned by his daughter. There are picnic tables on the side for eating.
(1969) Spaghetti Bender 6204 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663. Italian restaurant with an old school country kitschy dining room that hasn’t been remodeled since 1976.
(1969) Golden Ox 902 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640. Typical fast food restaurant serving American and Mexican food, with an amazing vintage sign.
(1969) Moreno’s 4328 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869. Romantic old school Mexican in a former church building with patio dining and interior and exterior fountains. Brick wall, white picket exterior with gabled roof and cupola.
(1969) Shanghai Pine Garden 300 Marine Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92662. Original 1960s exterior with stone facade and stylized Chinese roof. Mandarin Chinese cuisine served in a recently remodeled dining room.
(1969) El Abajeno 4513 Inglewood Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230. Mexican food served take-out style in a remodeled dining room decorated with Mexican touches, such as tiled tables, exposed brick around the doorways, 1960s lanterns and a clay tiled floor.
(1969) La Abeja 3700 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90065. Small, authentic Mexican restaurant with wood paneled walls and ceiling, wood laminate tables and burgundy vinyl booths.
(1970) Cactus Patch Restaurant 197 E High St, Moorpark, CA 93021.
Quaint early ’70s diner with wood paneling and old west decor. Breakfast and brunch.
(1970) The Old Place 29983 Mulholland Hwy, Agoura Hills, CA 91301.
Completely wooden throughout, ceilings included, with a long wooden bar and a handful of carved wooden booths. Serving rustic comfort food in a converted country store & post office.
(1970) Pinnacle Peak 2533 La Cadena Dr S, Colton, CA 92324. Second location of the 1967 San Dimas location. A working man’s steakhouse.
(1970) The Baked Potato 3787 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604.
Intimate live jazz club that serves entree-sized baked potatoes and a menu full of toppings.
(1970) Antonio’s Restaurant 7470 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Opened before Melrose became trendy, this Mexican restaurant is dark, with an old school feel, including wrought iron, Mexican tile and walls full of old photos.
(1970) Le Sanglier 5522 Crebs Ave, Tarzana, CA 91356. Pricey French restaurant in dark, remodeled room with country French decor.
(1970) The Odyssey 15600 Odyssey Dr, Granada Hills, CA 91344. Special occasion restaurant with patios and sprawling views of the San Fernando Valley. Serving American steak, seafood and weekend brunch.
(1971) Alfredo’s Granada 1100 W Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506.
Mexican food. Early ’70s decor with a tile-roofed Mexican hacienda disguising the kitchen. Attached bar.
(1971) Gardens of Taxco 1113 N Harper Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046.
Classic Mexican food. Traditional prix fixe menu recited by a waiter was the mainstay for years, but a menu was recently added. Dark interior with red leather booths, vintage ambiance, and 1970s stained glass. (Slated to close soon)
(1971) Pinocchio Italian Restaurant 3103 W Magnolia, Burbank, CA 91505.
Casually kitschy Italian-American food, cafeteria-style. Fun puppet-themed ambiance.
(1971) Way Station Coffee House 24377 Main St, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. Small, old school coffee shop & diner serving breakfast & early lunch; a long formica counter, brown vinyl booths, a drop ceiling and a crowded wall full of vintage license plates create an authentic early ’70s vibe.
(1971) Howard’s Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers 11127 Venice, L.A., CA 90034
Located in a Westside strip mall, Howard’s is a simple old school fast food joint known for their burgers. With an original ’70s sign out front and a few orange molded booths with wood laminate tables and a bright orange venting hood over the grill, it likely looks very much like it did when it opened in 1972. Decor consists of old movie posters and a ceiling fan.
(1971) Angelo’s and Vinci’s 550 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832. Jam-packed to the rafters with Italian inspired decoration & kitschy decor. Serving Italian food. Remodeled in 1992.
(1971) Shakers 601 Fair Oaks, South Pasadena, 91030. Classic American diner food served in a 1964-built googie structure designed by Armet & Davis for the Prebles restaurant chain. It became the Salt Shaker in 1971, but the name was changed to Shakers in 1975. It still has much of the original 1970s interior.
(1971) Golden Star Chinese 150 W Whittier Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631. Old school ’70s wood paneled interior with stylized Chinese themed exterior.
(1971) Van Nuys German Deli 16155 Roscoe Blvd, North Hills, CA 91343. Authentic German market and deli serving wurst meat sandwiches, strudel, potato salad and more. Owned by its second owner of German nationality.
(1971) Olympic Cafe House of Breakfast 3728 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019. Located in a strip mall with counter ordering for breakfast and lunch. Unremodeled early-’70s room with wood laminate tables, orange medieval castle-like decor and wood paneled walls.
(1972) O0masa 100 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
One of the earliest sushi bars in Los Angeles. The first, Kawafuku, opened in Little Tokyo in 1966 and is long gone.
(1972) Suehiro Cafe 337 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Along with Oomasa, this is one of the oldest operating restaurants in Little Tokyo. It is located in the 1882-built Sperl building. Serving basic Japanese food in a small, diner-like room with booths, tables and an eating counter.
(1972) La Frite 15013 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Small, family owned French bistro with amazing original vintage sign, black leather booths, small round tables, dim lighting & a wooden bar.
(1972) The Hobbit Restaurant 2932 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869.
Unique upscale dining experience in an old home and wine cellar. Prix-fixe, multi-course.
(1972) Moonshadows 20356 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265.
Pricey ocean front restaurant. Its exterior remains the same, but its interior was remodeled in 2012.
(1972) Orange Hill Restaurant 6410 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869.
Surf & turf. Elegant restaurant with wood beamed ceilings, white table clothes and sweeping views.
(1972) Rainbow Bar & Grill 9015 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Legendary 1970s- ’80s Sunset strip rock hangout that opened in place of Vincente Minelli’s Villa Nova. The restaurant part is un-remodeled old school with leather booths, a fireplace and memorabilia. Still serving a mostly Italian based menu, they are known for their pizza.
(1972) Prince O’ Whales 335 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293.
Opened in 1955 as the “Bowspirit” and claims to be L.A.’s oldest sports bar. Serves breakfast, lunch & dinner.
(1972) Good Neighbor Restaurant 3701 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604. Homestyle, American breakfast & lunch in a casual, Mom & Pop-type cafe.
(1972) The Rusty Pelican 2735 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663. The last remaining restaurant of a ’70s-early ’90s chain started by a Newport life guard in 1967; upscale sea food, waterfront location.
(1972) Carmine’s II Caffe 10463 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Run by the son of the first Carmine, who owned the Italian eatery once frequented by the Rat Pack. Remodeled interior & new sign.
(1972) Valentino 3115 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Expensive, award winning, fine dining Italian in a contemporary room.
(1972) King Cole Pizza 612 S Lorena St, Los Angeles, CA 90023. Casual pizza parlor in Boyle Heights with a fun, kitschy interior and a castle-themed exterior. Definitely straight out of the early ’70s, with a funky rec room/vintage feel.
(1972) The Shack 185 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293. Serving burgers & bar grub in an old school wooden building one block from the beach, This well-worn bar/restaurant has a laid back vibe, with wood paneling, brick walls and a well-worn patio. The first opened of 6 other locations in Hawaii, Colorado & Santa Monica.
(1972) Dick Church’s 2698 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Authentic 1970s diner with original orange tufted booths, wood paneled walls and counter, complete with vintage cigarette vending machine. Originally opened in 1947 as Baby’s Beef Burger. Serving American-style breakfasts and lunch.
(1972) Wah’s Golden Hen 709 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Cantonese-style Chinese food served in a small storefront, remodeled restaurant. The original 1970s sign remains. Great, inexpensive Chinese food with large portions.
(1972) Alexis Greek & Portuguese Restaurant 9034 Tampa Ave, Northridge, CA 91324. Mediterranean food in a basic dining room with murals of the Aegean Sea.
(1972) Ciro’s 705 N Evergreen Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033. Early 1970s rec-room vibe with wood paneled walls and tables, burgundy vinyl booths and a hand-painted sign out front. Serving authentic Mexican food.
(1972) The Oyster House 12446 Moorpark St, Studio City, CA 91604. The Oyster House restaurant opened in 1972 on Moorpark Ave in Studio City. Specializing in oysters on the half shell, oyster shooters, fish & chips and other seafood, the environment is casual, more like a dive bar. The front exterior wall is trimmed with vintage river rock, it boasts an original plastic sign, and the front door is painted with a ship’s porthole. The interior is straight out of the early ’70s with wood paneled walls, drop ceilings, a long bar with black leather bucket seats and high tables for eating. The venue also features live music.
(1972) Jim’s Burgers #10 1901 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033. Part of the Jim’s Burgers chain, which began in 1958 in Bell. Amazing old school sign, interior plastic molded booths and exterior vintage umbrella tables. This building was constructed in 1953. Serving take-out style and drive-through fast food American and Mexican.
(1973) Inn of the Seventh Ray 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290. Romantic and pricey with a fairy tale, woodland atmosphere, brick paths and terrace, an abundance of outside seating, and a creek running through the property.
(1973) Rib Ranch BBQ 4923 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.
Originally opened in 1970 in Sepulveda, CA by owners Lenny and Bernie, whose portraits are displayed in the vintage ’70s molded plastic sign atop the roof. It is a cool, all wood shack, rustic & authentic, with a down home feel and outdoor seating too. It’s obviously meat-centric, but veggies can opt for the mac ‘n cheese & potatoes.
(1973) Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant 322 PCH, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.
Small, bright and festively painted Mexican Restaurant. Same chef since 1973.
(1973) Porto’s 315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203.
Busy Cuban bakery that began in 1973 in an L.A. storefront. Moved to Glendale in 1978 & to this location in the early ’90s.
(1973) Belly Buster Sandwich Shoppe 1142 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803. Opened on Valley Blvd in Alhambra in 1973 and is a much beloved neighborhood staple. The new owner painted “since 1967” on the wall and if anyone has information on whether that is the correct opening date, please share. My records show 1973. Serving hot & cold submarine sandwiches from a take-out window of a little shack that was originally built in 1932, there are picnic tables for eating under a covered patio. The original owners, Corky & Don, now own the original The Hat pastrami shop (est 1951) located down Valley Blvd at the corner of Garfield.
(1973) Egg Plantation 24415 Walnut St, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. Quaint country-styled cafe open for breakfast and early lunch.
(1973) Izzy’s Deli 1433 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403. 24-hour diner serving up classic American & Jewish favorites. It’s had some remodeling over the years, but still keeps the ’70s integrity of its rust-colored leather booths & wood laminate tables.
(1973) Patrick’s Roadhouse 106 Entrada Dr, Santa Monica, CA 90402. Funky cafe near the ocean with a large, casual menu. Built from a red car depot station that had already been transformed into a hot dog stand & then merged with the next door motel. Filled to the ceilings with antiques.
(1973) Tony’s Pizza 2555 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108. Basic pizza parlor in a no-frills room with red and green molded plastic booths. Counter service.
(1973) Gilbert’s El Indio 2526 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Mexican food served in an early 1970s building. The ’70s feel continues with an interior of wood paneled walls plastered with photographs, wood laminate tables and burgundy colored booths.
(1973) Great Western Steak & Hoagie Co. 1720 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. Small corner fast food shack with counter ordering and indoor/outdoor seating. Specializing in Philly cheese steak hoagies.
(1974) Orange County Mining Co. 10000 S Crawford Cyn Rd, N. Tustin, CA 92705.
Upscale ’70s rustic vibe with hilltop views and a “saloon”. Steak and seafood.
(1974) Ristorante Peppone 11628 Barrington Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90049.
Dimly-lit, mahogany and stained glass. Pricey Italian-American food in Brentwood.
(1974) El Farolito 201 S Bradford Ave, Placentia, CA 92870.
Popular Mom & Pop Mexican restaurant. Old school ’70s decor.
(1974) The Chowder Barge 611 N Henry Ford Ave, Wilmington, CA 90744.
Surf & turf. L.A.’s only floating restaurant. Casual, 1970s laid back fishing dock atmosphere. Originally built in 1934 as a support vessel for the film “Mutiny on the Bounty, ” it opened as a restaurant in 1974.
(1974) Ye Olde King’s Head 116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Traditional English pub with ’70s style dining area serving classic British food.
(1974) George’s Drive-in 9910 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92503.
Classic walk-up hamburger fast food stand with original sign.
(1974) Astro Burger 5601 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Originally opened as a drive-through burger joint, Astro expanded its menu to include Greek food and vegetarian options. Basic fast food counter service and dining area.
(1974) Cozy Corner Drive-in 426 N Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92703. Fast food hamburger joint with amazing vintage sign out front. 1970s vintage interior with turquoise booths and wood laminate tables.
(1974) Mr Chow 344 N Camden Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Upscale Beverly Hills Chinese restaurant originally opened in London in 1968 by restauranteur Michael Chow. White table cloths and extremely modern/remodeled environment.
(1974) Claro’s 19 Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91006. Another branch of the original Claro’s Italian market and deli that opened in San Gabriel in 1948. Basic brick-fronted building with awning and red linoleum floors, serving classic Italian deli and baked goods.
(1975) El Compadre 7408 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029.
Classic Mexican food. Dark, with an old world hacienda feeling, leather booths and flaming margaritas.
(1975) Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles 1514 N Gower St, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Original location of the iconic restaurant serving chicken & waffles.
(1975) Carney’s 8351 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Burgers & hot dogs served in an old Pacific Railroad train car on the Sunset strip.
(1975) Moffet’s Chicken Pie Shop 1409 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007.
Authentic strip mall diner specializing in serving comfort food, particularly pot pies. Homey and decorated with ’70s country kitsch, from floral wallpaper to colonial American-style wood furniture and hanging stained glass lamps, its mirrored wall menu is still painted in the original ’70s hues of orange, brown and goldenrod. They also are known for their homemade dessert pies as well.
(1975) Original Pizza Cookery 6209 Topanga Canyon, Woodland Hills, CA 91367. Rustic, cozy Italian restaurant with wooden booths and saw dust on the floors. Original 1970s-font sign.
(1975) Café Tropical 2900 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Small, funky corner cafe serving Cuban sandwiches, pastries & café con leche.
(1975) More Than Waffles 17200 Ventura Blvd #109, Encino, CA 91316. Breakfast spot specializing in elaborate waffles and other morning favorites. Built in the Encino Town Center which opened the same year. Homey, country decor. The whole shopping center was remodeled in 1993.
(1975) Salvatore Italian 125 N 6th St, Montebello, CA 90640. Casual, family owned restaurant with 1970s Italian inspired decor and original sign.
(1975) Roma Market 918 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104. Italian import market that opened in Pasadena in 1953 and began serving signature deli sandwiches in 1975. Modern exterior, authentic and cluttered interior. Not connected to the North Hollywood Roma Deli.
(1975) King Taco #1 1118 Cypress Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90065. First location of the worshiped fast food taco chain that became the blueprint of taco shops nationwide. Started out of a truck in mid-1974 and expanded into a brick and mortar store six months later.
(1975) Paco’s Tacos 4141 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066. Full-service Mexican restaurant located in a brick-fronted building. It has 1970s plastic signs and lively, fun interior decor with tile bordered walls, Mexican-themed murals, large fishtanks, stained glass, painted wooden ceiling beams and eclectic fishing and hunting ephemera hanging from the ceiling.
(1976) Shibucho 3114 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057.
Traditional, yet pricey sushi at one of L.A.’s earliest sushi bars, opened several years before the ’80s trend.
(1976) Leo’s Mexican Food 16006 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260.
Mexican restaurant originally opened in 1948. Moved to newly constructed building in 1976.
(1976) Le Roy’s Restaurant 523 W Huntington Dr, Monrovia, CA 91016. Straight out of the mid-’70s, this American diner features brown leather booths, a long laminate wood counter, country inspired light fixtures & an awesome sign out front.
(1976) Lulu’s Cafe 16900 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406. Family restaurant serving American diner food. Oddly shaped building with shingled roof, classic mid-1970s sign and ’70s stained glass and decorative touches throughout. It has a separate bar area inside called The Hanger, which is also vintage 1970s.
(1976) Chico’s Pizza 12120 Long Beach Blvd, Lynwood, CA 90262. Classic mid-70s rec-room feel with communal seating, video games & pool tables. A great old sign out front and interior walls of paneled wood and faux brick.
(1976) Chao Krung 111 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. The first wave of Thai immigrants began settling in L.A. during the late 1960s and the first Thai restaurant here opened in 1969 on Vermont Avenue. It is no longer remaining. Chao Krung claims to be the second Thai restaurant to open in L.A., giving it the distinction of being the oldest remaining in the city. Original wood paneled dining room with decorative Thai touches.
(1976) Won Kok 210 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Chinatown restaurant with late-night hours serving dim sum and classic Chinese-American dishes. Unremodeled 1970s casual dining room with wood paneled walls and drop ceiling.
(1976) Kouraku 314 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Remodeled diner-like Little Tokyo cafe which stakes claim to being the first true ramen restaurant in the United States. Open late night hours.
(1976) Conrad’s 861 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101. Classic, unremodeled mid-70s diner. With wood paneled walls, beveled glass, wood laminate tables, brown tufted booths and attached cocktail lounge. Serving classic diner food.
(1977) Shinano 1106 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754. One of the oldest Japanese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. Traditional Japanese and sushi served in a dining room with booths, oriental decorative touches and private tatami rooms.
(1977) Moun of Tunis 7445 1/2 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046.
Authentic Moroccan prix fixe served among exotic decor with belly dancers performing.
(1977) Pat and Lorraine’s 4720 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041.
Mid ’70s diner serving breakfast & lunch. It is infamous for being the location of the opening scene in Reservoir Dogs in which the characters dissect the Madonna song “Like a Virgin.”
(1977) Buchanan Arms Restaurant & Pub 2013 W Burbank, Burbank, CA 91506. Traditional British pub grub in a comfortable room with colonial-revival wooden chairs, exposed brick walls & red leather booths. It had an exterior “facelift” in 2015 and replaced its cool old 1970s sign with a new one. The inside still has a lot of its ’70s character left.
(1977) Brogino’s 2423 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278. Cozy, old school Italian-American with wood paneled walls covered with photos, tan leather booths and murals on the ceiling & outside wall. It has a bar with overhanging ’70s stained glass light fixtures.
(1977) Giamela’s Lamplighter 9110 De Soto Ave, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Late ’70s diner-style restaurant with attached lounge. This location merged with Giamela’s subs in the early ’90s.
(1977) Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe 1453 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Cafe with redwood planked walls, booths and a long eating counter, serving diner fare. The original vintage signs have been replaced.
(1977) Dizz’s As Is 2794 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Located in a 1920s house filled with a mish mash ’20s to ’30s antiques, with a steak & sea food based menu.
(1977) Yang Chow 819 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Chinatown restaurant serving Mandarin and Szechuan style cuisine, started by a family of five brothers. Small, basic, unremarkable dining room.
(1977) Hu’s Szechwan 10450 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034. Small, basic and casual Chinese restaurant with simple, dining room consisting of modern tables and chairs and a few Chinese decorations. The exterior of the building is trimmed with vintage river rock.
(1977) Fidel’s Pizza 307 N Avenue 50, Los Angeles, CA 90042. Simple Highland Park take-out pizza served from a house-like store built in the 1970s. Picnic table, porch front eating.
(1978) Old World German Restaurant 7561 Center Ave, Huntington Beach, 92647.
A kitschy restaurant resembling an old European village serving German & Austrian food. Taking up nearly a city block, the stores that make up the village all have German facades. The restaurant has multiple indoor and outdoor areas, including a bar, all decorated with the “old world” theme. There is a huge banquet area where they host Oktoberfest & other parties and a sprawling courtyard area where they host weiner dog races one Sunday a month.
(1978) La Parilla 2126 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033.
Mexican food. They opened a second location on Wilshire Blvd in downtown L.A.
(1978) 94th Aero Squadron 16320 Raymer St, Van Nuys, CA 91406.
Built next to the runaway at Van Nuys airport & full of aviation memorabilia. Steakhouse/American menu.
(1978) The Bull Pen 314 Ave I, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. Family owned steakhouse dining with attached lounge. Originally opened in 1948 on PCH , but moved several times within Redondo before settling here in 1978. Steak, seafood, burgers. Old school interior with black booths.
(1978) Chicken Box 330 E Whittier Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631. Counter ordering in a quaint, country-styles restaurant fronted by a white picket fence and interior gingham wallpaper. Amazing ’70s vintage sign out front. Patio tables for eating.
(1978) Jitlada 5233 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Located in a Hollywood strip mall, this Thai restaurant may be the 2nd oldest surviving Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. The first wave of Thai immigrants began settling in L.A. during the late 1960s and the first Thai restaurant here opened in 1969 on Vermont Avenue. It is no longer remaining. The oldest surviving appears to be Chao Krung on Fairfax, which opened in 1976. Small, cozy, two rooms with with drop ceilings and Thai decorations, it serves authentic Southern Thai cuisine. It is well respected by food connoisseurs and has very extensive choices. The front part of the menu is traditional Thai food, well-known by Americans, but the back part of the menu offers rare and authentic items. There is even a menu section called “Adventurous and Bizarre Foods” featuring Silk Worms, whole eels, whole squid and much more.
(1978) Nanbankan 11330 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Traditional Japanese served in a small, remodeled room with a yakitori bar.
(1979) Heart’s Coffee Shop 16918 Saticoy St, Van Nuys, CA 91406.
Classic family owned ’70s-style diner with reasonable prices, a long wood laminate counter, burgundy and orange bucket stools and a tremendous heart-shaped neon sign out front.
(1979) Enterprise Fish Co. 174 Kinney St, Santa Monica, CA 90405.
Seafood. Second location of a 1977 Santa Barbara restaurant.
(1979) Palermo 1858 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Italian-American food. Originally opened in 1976 on Hillhurst Ave. Burgundy leather booths, old school feel.
(1979) Guido’s Restaurant 11980 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Italian food with vintage feel; red leather booths, exposed brick, hand-carved wood, fireplace, and great exterior neon signs.
(1979) Country Deli Restaurant 9901 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Bright & basic, no frills diner serving simple comfort food favorites.
(1979) Daglas Drive-in 20036 Vanowen St, Canoga Park, CA 91306. Take-out window sandwich & burger stand with attached diner area. Occupies a cool ’60s kitsch building with festive, carnival-like decorative adornments.
(1979) Fromin’s 1832 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Partially remodeled Jewish deli. The exterior still features the deli’s name in the original 1970s font.
(1979) Tony’s Italian Deli 1124 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506. Small, corner deli serving sandwiches and Italian dishes in a small room with a few tables. The original 1970s sign still hangs above the roof.
(1979) Paru’s 5140 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027. One of the oldest surviving Indian restaurants in Los Angeles. A charming and romantic indoor/outdoor eating area are a surprise when entering from outside gritty Sunset Blvd. Originally established in 1975 in Washington DC, it moved to L.A. in 1979. Serving traditional vegetarian Southern Indian cuisine.
(1979) Pioneer Chicken 6323 E Florence Ave, Bell Gardens, CA 90201. One of the last two remaining franchises of the once extremely popular Los Angeles created fried chicken chain that began in Echo Park in 1961. At its peak in 1987 there were 270 restaurants. The remaining two locations both have original signs and architecture.
(1979) Conrad’s 820 N Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91203. Conrad’s opened on Central Ave in Glendale in 1979. It is the second branch of another existing Conrad’s in Pasadena, which was built in 1976. They both serve American coffee shop/diner faire. This location is open 24-hours. Much of the interior is original late ’70s, with blonde wood paneled walls, a long diner counter of wood laminate, polished brick walls and unusual discotheque era paneled ceiling lights. The dining area has large semi-circular booths and 1970s chandeliers, but the upholstery looks like it had a late ’80s update. There is an outdoor eating area and an attached bar with dimmer lighting, more booths and wood beamed ceilings.
(1979) La Fuente 5530 Monte Vista St, Los Angeles, CA 90042. This small Highland Park Mexican restaurant has kept its late ’70s authenticity in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Located in a small house with original vinyl booths, laminate wood tables and old-world Mexican touches, such as iron lanterns, brick-edged porticoes and wood beamed ceilings.
(1979) Big Jim’s 8950 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Sun Valley, CA 91352. Low, ranch-style building, which holds a kitschy Western-themed American restaurant with wagon wheel light fixtures, a gold horseshoe embedded on the floor entrance, wood paneled ceilings, embossed glass and a copper wagon train over the salad bar. The neon horse on the exterior sign gallops, when lit.
(1980) Azteca 12911 Main St Main Street, Garden Grove, CA 92840. Mexican restaurant which originally opened at another Garden Grove location in 1957 before moving to its current spot in 1980. It is jam packed with Elvis memorabilia in every available spot from floor to ceiling. The Elvis collection was added to the restaurant in 1993, when the current owned inherited the business from his aunt, the original owner.
(1980) Casablanca 220 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291.
Mexican restaurant with a decorating theme based on the movie “Casablanca”.
(1980) The Dragon 966 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006. Korean influenced North Chinese food. Brightly lit, modernized dining area.
(1981) Gladstone’s 17300 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272.
Ocean view sea food restaurant. Originally opened in Santa Monica Canyon in 1972. (Slated to lose this location October 2017)
(1981) Pioneer Chicken 904 S Soto St, Los Angeles, CA 90023. One of the last two remaining franchises of the once extremely popular Los Angeles-created fried chicken chain that began in Echo Park in 1961. At its peak in 1987 there were 270 restaurants. The remaining two locations both have original signs and architecture.
(1981) Golden Deli Vietnamese 815 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776. Vietnamese food arrived in California after 1975. Though named a deli, this is actually a casual, unadorned, full-service restaurant serving classic Vietnamese food and cupcakes.
(1982) Corrigan’s Steakhouse 556 E Thousand Oaks, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.
Eclectic old west-themed steakhouse. Owner’s father created 1950s Western theme park “Corriganville”.
(1982) Don Antonio’s 11755 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064 Classic Mexican.
Dark and cozy, red leather booths and a “cave room” complete with stalactites.
(1983) Geoffrey’s 27400 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265.
Designed by Richard Neutra in 1948 as Holiday House. In 1983 it became Geoffrey’s, pricey surf & turf.
(1984) Paoli’s 21020 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.
East coast Italian feel. Small piano bar with a vintage feel and a separate bar area.
(1985) Saddle Peak Lodge 419 Cold Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302. Although the building has a 100+ year history, Saddle Peak Lodge itself opened in 1985. with a complete renovation to give it a rustic atmosphere.
(1989) Clearman’s Northwoods Inn 14305 Firestone Blvd, La Mirada, CA 90638.
Technically not vintage, it is a great kitschy replica of its San Gabriel & Covina cousins.
(1991) The Prince 3198 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005. Although The Prince is not technically vintage, its location is. Originally opened in 1927 as an outside garden cafe, it became the elegantly French Windsor in 1949. Dimly lit, with red booths, wood & a horseshoe-shaped bar it now serves Korean.
(1993) Gary Bric’s Ramp 7730 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505. Old school, dimly lit restaurant with an authentic vintage atmosphere and interior. Originally opened in 1962, it changed names and owners a few times before becoming the Ramp again in 1993. Sandwiched between ramps for the overhead 5 Freeway, this place is an incredible hidden gem. Serving steakhouse fare, with attached cocktail lounge.
(1994) George Petrelli Steak House 5615 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230.
Originally opened in 1931 by George Petrelli’s Uncle Joe and located across the street. This steakhouse moved to this location in 1994. The interior is cool vintage with an attached lounge area.
(1996) La Parrilla 1300 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Mexican restaurant just west of downtown in the Westlake neighborhood which has an authentic traditional vibe with burgundy leather booths. It is on the “newer” side of this vintage restaurant list, having opened in 1996 as the 2nd restaurant of La Parilla Boyle Heights (1978), but its location echoes with history. The building it is located in is a former home built in 1905 and once owned by Charlie Chaplin. The back part of the building is Storybook-style with curved thatched roof and is one of the oldest remaining buildings on Wilshire, back when it was called Orange Street. This place is worth a visit for good food and tasty pitchers of sangria.
(1997) Russell’s Cafe 30 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103.
This entry was originally entered on this list as having opened in 1930, and this is a common misconception. Russell’s was a chain that began in 1930 and went out of business. This particular restaurant opened in the ’90s, using the Russell’s name. I am keeping it on the list to communicate the error. American food served at tiny cafe decorated with elaborate chandeliers, classic art work & crown molding.
RECENT CLOSURES (May 2015 to present):
(1925) Formosa Cafe 7156 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90046.
Opened by a prize fighter in an old red trolley car, it has kept its vintage integrity. (UPDATE July 2015: The original vintage interior has been gutted and subjected to an unfortunate flavorless remodel). (CLOSED PERMANENTLY December 2016)
(1946) Casa Escobar 2809 Agoura Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91361.
Vintage Mexican restaurant with a completely remodeled modern-style interior. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY September 2016)
(1948) Dominick’s 8715 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048.
Upscale Italian opened as a private club and Rat Pack hang; has had several owners through the years. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY December 2015)
(1948) Billy’s Delicatessen 216 N Orange St, Glendale, CA 91203.
Old school charm. An outside hand-sculpted ceramic wall of salami, cheese & other deli items is a draw. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY June 2015)
(1948) Ho Sai Kai 3723 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90018. Cantonese-style Chinese food served in a very basic, mostly unadorned, dining room in South Central L.A. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY March 2017)
(1955) La Palma Chicken Pie Shop 928 N Euclid St, Anaheim, CA 92801.
A great neon sign, vintage booths, light fixtures, wood paneling; serving pot pies & comfort food. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY 2015 after its owner passed away)
(1956) Johnny’s Pastrami 4331 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018.
24-hour walk-up pastrami stand with original signs. Seating at a counter on the side. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY December 2015)
(1956) Mazzarino’s 12924 Riverside Dr, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
Casual 1940s Italian pizzeria, at this location since 1956. Cool original signs; interior remodeled & redecorated. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY March 2016)
(1957) My Brother’s Bar-B-Q 21150 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.
Cozy country-inspired interior and a cool vintage sign featuring a large cow statue on top. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY February 2016)
(1958) Nino’s 3853 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807. SAD NEWS: Nino’s Italian Restaurant opened in Long Beach in 1958 and is set to close on August 12, 2016. Their original owners, Vincenzo “Nino” Cristiano passed away in 2014 and his wife, Inge, and his adult children, are retiring. They emigrated from Italy in 1957 and opened this restaurant the next year. Inside is old school with checked tablecloths, a huge river rock fireplace, mint green leather booths and a trellised ceiling. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY August 2016)
(1959) Pizza Buona 2100 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026.
Small storefront restaurant in Echo Park serving pizza and Italian dishes. (CLOSED in the vintage space December 2015 and relocated at another location nearby )
(1959) Garfano’s Pizza 5468 Valley Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90032.
Family run pizzeria near Cal State LA college. Original signs. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY October 2015)
(1960) La Villa Basque 2801 Leonis Blvd, Vernon, CA 90058.
A mid-century Basque restaurant that was unfortunately gutted in 2011 and given a poor modern remodel. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY 2016)
(1966) El Chavo 4441 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Classic Mexican. Dark and romantic; it is supposed to be Dolly Parton’s favorite L.A. restaurant. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY November 2015)
(1971) Benihana 38 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Japanese hibachi chain in an early ’70s Pagoda-style building in which a chef theatrically prepares food tableside. This was one of the first 6 restaurants in a chain of now over 100. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY December 2015)
(1971) Chu’s Kitchen 111 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Chinese restaurant with recently remodeled modern interior. Still has original 1970s sign out front. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY early 2017 due to owner retirement)
(1974) French Quarter Restaurant 7985 Santa Monica, W Hollywood, CA 90046.
Quaint and over the top kitschy cafeteria-style cafe, meant to feel like New Orleans. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY July 2015)
(1975) L’Affaire Café 11024 Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills, CA 91345. Romantic French restaurant with dark leather booths, wooden walls & ceiling and exposed brick. Brick exterior with original ’70s sign. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY December 2015 due to owner retirement)
(1975) Clancy’s Crab Boiler 219 N Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91203.
Family-owned seafood restaurant decorated in 1890s style via 1975, complete with sawdust on the floor. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY 2015)
(1985) Hop Louie Old Chinatown, 950 Mei Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
American-Chinese food. Originally opened as the Golden Pagoda in 1941, its building is a 5-tiered pagoda. It became Hop Louie in 1985 and still retains the original architecture and much of the old school decor. (CLOSED PERMANENTLY August 2016)