10 Photos of Cool L.A. Diners Over the Years

Los Angeles has always had a fashionable food scene, even if the fashions have changed wildly with time. These photos, ranging from 1921 all the way to 1988, depict hip and trendy Angelenos of yore in the restaurants that shaped the dining landscapes of their generations. Number four is straight out of "Mad Men"; number seven is straight out of "The Shining"; and number eight will make you hate air travel even more than you already did.

Van de Kamp's restaurant. The bakery opened the first of many Dutch-themed coffee shops on Spring Street in 1921. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


Buffingtons Coffee Shop in Long Beach in 1942. The diner was known for its iconic U-shaped counters. LAPL Photo Collection


Clifford Clinton's Pacific Seas Cafeteria, shown here in 1945, was a Polynesian-themed twist on the restaurateur's typical eatery. It was located at 618 S. Olive Street until its closure in 1960. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


Berliner's Bar was a popular downtown spot for a drinking lunch. Along with a coffee shop and dining room, it occupied the current Umamicatessen space from the 1940s to the 1970s. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


Joy Yuen Low restaurant in Chinatown, 1948. The restaurant, which was known for hosting lavish celebrations, is today the Realm gift shop at 425 Gin Lang Way; much of its original décor is preserved. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


Little Joe's Italian American Restaurant, shown here circa 1950, was often packed to the gills; the building that housed it until its closure in 1998 was just torn down this year. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


The coffee shop in the Biltmore Hotel in 1952. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


In 1955, the Union Pacific railroad debuted its luxurious Astra Dome dining car. According to a Union Pacific promotional piece, the railroad's new dining car would "offer you only the finest of freshly prepared foods, graciously served by attentive waiters." Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


A waitress takes orders in a 1958 coffee shop inside Lockheed Terminal, which we know today as Bob Hope Airport. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection


Pasadena's Crown City Brewery in 1988, the year it opened. The brewery shut down in 2008 just shy of its twenty-year anniversary. LAPL Photo Collection


About the Author

Professional word nerd, amateur francophile, home cook, carbohydrate enthusiast and person who is obnoxious about yoga.
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