Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clifton's Brookdale Returns!

Click on photo to see larger

It has been over four years since Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria closed it's doors for remodeling and re-vitalization. The long wait was worth it! Clifton's looks better than ever. The owner retained the woodsy decor and added even more forest touches. I cannot begin to explain the extent of work that went into this building. It really is a Disneyland-like environment. Founder, Clifford Clinton would be proud. 
We were fortunate to be invited to a special fund-raiser for the Los Angeles Conservancy for the opening of this downtown L.A. landmark. The place was filled to capacity - 500 people! Needless to say, it was crowded and a bit frantic inside, exacerbated by the reverberating sounds of the excellent 1940s-style band, playing against all hard surfaces. The band generated excitement and the need to shout over it.
There were passed hors-d'oeuvres and champagne. We got in line for dinner right away before the mad rush. Naturally, the line was into the cafeteria area which has been updated, but preserved, including some of the original kitchen fixtures and the old tile flooring. There were many small plates to choose from including 4 types of salads, many vegetable offerings, sliders, pizza, soup and hand-carved turkey. The dessert area contained a beautiful array of baked goods including the one dessert that everyone asks for:  Jello!  This wasn't your old-fashioned dish of Jello however, these were parfaits, layered with custard, whipped cream and Jello.
I'm sure, when Clifton's opens officially in a few days, there will be more hot entree items available.  This was a special party menu for the occasion.  Everything was delicious!
New tray design

Larry anxiously waits in line

Fruit Cups and Tuna Salads

Carrot Salad and Waldorf Salad
We ran into many friends during the evening. The new and improved Clifton's takes advantage of all the floor space. There's a first floor, mezzanine and, I believe, 2 more floors of space. The bar on the second level is carved and very clubby There is a lounge area near the bar, surrounding the largest redwood tree trunk you've ever seen outside of Yosemite! There are private dining areas and a proposed tiki bar on the upper level.  I have heard that there are plans for yet another restaurant in the basement.

The bar on the second floor

Just like the former Brookdale Clifton's there are replicas of wild life and forest all around. It's like a fantasy hunting lodge.

 So many dioramas, I felt like I was visiting the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park.
It was rather crowded and the air-conditioning seemed to fail during this very hot evening. I'm sure that will be remedied in the near future. The bakery near the front of the building is really beautiful, much fancier than the old bakery. I'll be interested to see if the food prices are fancier too, once the Cafeteria is open to the public.
We had a wonderful time and will return after the hoopla dies down!
Chocolate Bear!

Click on link to see Larry posing with the same bear in 2011. 

This old terrazzo in front of Clifton's need a bit of refurbishing!

Clifton's is going to be a very popular addition to Broadway. It will be open late into the night for all of the new residents of downtown.

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