9 Bygone Novelty Restaurants of L.A.

L.A.'s always boasted a unique dining scene, but novelty restaurants were once a particular specialty of our fair city. Today, you can still eat your Carney's inside a train car on Sunset or have an overpriced dinner aboard the Queen Mary, but for the most part, the creatively designed eateries of yore have fallen by the wayside. Below, nine examples of way super-cool settings for supper, from a ship anchored alongside the Venice pier to a zeppelin.

Shown here in 1931, the Zep Diner at 515 W. Florence capitalized on its era's fascination with blimps. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Venice's Ship Café, shown here in 1946, ran alongside the Abbot Kinney pier and at one time was a famous celebrity rendezvous spot. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Venice's Pup Café, so named for obvious reasons, was photographed by Ansel Adams circa 1940. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Another Ansel Adams image from the '40s depicts Van de Kamp's Bakery in Beverly Hills, complete with Dutch-style windmill. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


The Malamute Saloon, shown here in 1933, was designed to look like a log cabin attached to a giant bottle, a visual joke alluding to the recent end of Prohibition. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


1929's Roundhouse Café, which was located at 250 N. Virgil, was designed to look as if a train was passing right through the building. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


The Jail Café at 4212 Sunset, shown here in 1927, sat diners inside "cells" where they were served by "prisoners." Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Motoring down Pico in 1920, it would have been impossible to miss this coffeeshop decorated with a giant cup. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


The Airplane Café, shown here circa 1924, featured "real chili" as well as a "special prepared hamburger." Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


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