I'd heard of Clifton's, but never got a chance to eat there until recently.. It's a cafeteria. Not the catered- food- courty cafeterias you'd find at the airport or on college campuses. It's the fiberglass pastel tray kind. The cups of tapioca pudding kind. Cubes of red jello.. Meat 'n' starch. Mac 'n' cheese. No brand name bags of chips or cookies or pretzels here. It's the kind of cafeteria I remember when I was little. By my teens, they'd vanished.
Clifton's (actually Clifton's Brookdale) survived. It's very much like an old cafeteria, with some exceptions, including
- has a rocky stream running through it, which is
- Tinted with colored lights and
- Fed by a waterfall which is
- Surrounded by fake pine trees and bushes and ferns, where
- A moose, an animatronic raccoon, a fishing bear and other wildlife frolic..
To reinforce the theme, back lit photos of coniferous forests adorn the walls, as do antique saws and knotty trunk cross sections. A two story mural of a forest covers one wall.. I always knew the place had a rep for being a loony with the decor, but was still floored. This place made a casino look like a waiting room at the dentist. It made a Thomas Kinkade painting look like a memo pad. It made a screensaver look like a test pattern!.
It's been around since the 1930s. At one time it even sported an organ player and live canaries for ambiance. I'm rather surprised it lasted. So many cool and unique places have been demolished in Los Angeles. . More cynical owners might have thought This place is too passe for [insert decade here] and stripped away the fun.
Notice the diners at the end, viewing traffic on Broadway below. Decades ago you went to this part of town when you wanted to go shopping or watch a movie. I bet people had fun watching the streetcars (when we had them) and the lights of the movie marquees.
Sadly, my camera was being cranky so some pictures didn't make it. I can't show you the spread of food. Nor can I show you the mini chapel-grotto-cave (and what was inside!) I can't show you the waterfall.
Sounds like a good excuse for me to return.