You had me at jello: LA's Clifton's Cafeteria will be getting a makeover. Hooray!
Many times we hear of a beloved old eccentric roadside attraction being neglected or, even worse, torn down, so it came as happy news to us when the always amazing Charles Phoenix recently shared a link about how downtown Los Angeles' retro-tastic Clifton's Cafeteria will be getting some renovations. The blogdowntown article states that among the finds of the renovation was an amazing piece of archeology: a neon light that has been glowing, unbeknown to its owners, for over 70 years behind a wall, making it the "oldest existing, continuing operating neon in the world," according to neon experts. We're hoping the big renovation plans (multi-levels! restored secret grottoes! bars, restaurants and a bakery!) don't change the wonderful gritty character of the place we witnessed in 2008. Here's what we posted back then:
My brother-in-law's brother, "Uncle" Stephen, always shows a great time when we visit him in L.A. A fellow eccentric traveler, he knows just the kind of places that will float our boat. On our last visit he took us to Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria on South Broadway in downtown, and the place does not disappoint. Like many other great downtown metro areas around the USA, this once-great neighborhood is a little rough around the edges, but the Clifton Cafeteria remains steadfast, serving up poached haddock, potato leek soup, pickled beets, jello with stuff in it, and enough pie and donuts to choke a horse, to its loyal denizens who have been patronizing the place since 1935. The decor is to die for. Original owner Clifford Clifton wanted the place to resemble a redwoods lodge. A 20-ft. waterfall cascades into a quiet stream that meanders through the dining room. The interior has a "lived-in" look, to put it kindly, as do the customers, making it all the more homey. They have elaborate terrazzo inlaid sidewalks depicting scenes important to California history that you won't find at Applebee's or TGIFridays, and tiled exterior walls feature display cases bragging of salad samplers, children's plates and quality desserts. I miss cafeterias like this. They remind me of fun childhood visits to my see my grandparents in Florida and I hope Clifton's never goes away. Check their website: http://www.cliftonscafeteria.com/pages/brookdale_home.html.
This blog is devoted to old fashioned American roadside attractions... the wonderfully big, bizarre, crazy, wacky, quirky, weird, funny, unique and mundane sites you see travelling cross-country by car in the USA, where getting there really is all the fun!