Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ye Olde Los Angeles Restaurant Trivia

First of all, I have a confession and a warning to make: I'm an aging Boomer, and fine print drives me nuts. My new laptop allows me to make things BIGGER! I love it. But I have no idea how that is going to affect my blog pictures and layout. So I apologize in advance if there's a lot of white space on your display . . . but be assured that mine looks greeeeaaaaatt!

Small print is on my mind because I just tortured myself by trying to read the captions on these pictures. Light gray, 8-point font gives me a headache!

But the pictures--of Los Angeles area restaurants of the 1920s and 1930s--are worth the effort.

The 1924 Airplane Cafe had wings--don't know for sure how long it was in business, but it shows up in the 1976 movie version of Bound for Glory. It's the place where Guthrie cleans a wall in exchange for a bowl of chili. The Kewpie Cafe, the Palomar Ballroom for Dining and Dancing on Vermont (which burned down in 1939), Ernie's 5 Cents Cafe on 5th Street--long gone, but tres atmospheric. Take a trip back in time on this KCET blog post.

Ernie wasn't kidding, by the way. If you blow this picture up (well, I had to blow it up) you can see that a nickel would buy you a hamburger, beef stew, any kind of sandwich, or three cookies. Think about what those items would cost now. Odd that three cookies and a bowl of beef stew cost the same, huh?

One restaurant you won't see there is Chez Jay, which I happened to pass today. The Los Angeles Conservancy site says it opened in 1959 and catered to celebrities by banning cameras and autograph seekers. Owner Jay Fiondella kept his stars cozy and happy.

The city of Santa Monica awarded Chez Jay landmark status in 2012. Even more interesting, the Santa Monica Redevlopement Agency bought Chez Jay back in 1999. The restaurant operates under a lease agreement.

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