Friday, September 25, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday

The Old and New Clifton's Cafeteria

Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria, 1939

I was most impressed with the preservation and re-invention of the Clifton's Cafeteria building when we visited this past Monday. I only remember the 1960's version of the exterior.
In an effort to update and modernize the old building, originally the Boos Brothers Cafeteria (1913), owner, Clifford Clinton added this modern screen to the front of the building, along with modern signage.  I like this exterior. It's clean, the sign is legible and you can clearly see what this building is all about.

Clifton's Re-design, 1960s to 2011

When the current owner, Andrew Meieran bought the business, he wanted to return the building to it's 1939 design. It took over four years, but Clifton's has returned to it's 1940s glory.

Clifton's, during restoration
Clifton's September 2015
The interior of the building is just as impressive as the exterior. Meieran improved the forested lodge-look of the place by adding more realistic fake trees and foliage, along with forest animals. You really must visit so you can view the transformation!
The old cafeteria tray versus the new tray
Clifton's, 1940. Dick Whittington collection, USC Photo Archives

Here's a bit of history about the building from the Pacific Coast Architecture Database:
In 1935, Clifford and Nelda Clinton picked up the lease on the failed Boos Brothers Cafeteria on Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The second Clifton's Cafeteria, this institution has occupied a retail space at 648 South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, since 1935. In 1939, after an extensive renovation, it was rechristened, "Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria." The name derived from a lodge building that Clinton had visited in the Northern California Santa Cruz Mountains in his youth. Like the original restaurant, Clifton's Brookdale also featured a lenient, "pay what you wish" business model. In 2007, Clifton's was one of the few remaining cafeterias left anywhere in Southern California, a restaurant type very popular during the 1920s-1960s.
I look forward to many more meals at the new and improved Clifton's Cafeteria.

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