The New Old Clifton's Cafeteria Unveiled Today

When Andrew Meieran, owner of Downtown nightspot The Edison, bought Clifton's Cafeteria on Broadway about 18 months ago, there was some consternation. He was taking over a business run for generations by one family, neighborhood favorites who never turned away a penniless customer. Meieran's known for $14 drinks and doormen.

It's now clear that there will be many changes to Clifton's: it will soon serve alcohol in a few differently-themed bars within the building, and one floor will be occupied by an upscale restaurant. Even the offerings at the ground-floor cafeteria will change: smaller portions, better ingredients, is the idea.

But the historical decor will be kept intact wherever possible, and it looks like it will even be treated with greater respect by Meieran than by the previous owners. To that end, on Wednesday morning Meieran unveiled the original facade of the building, covered for more than 50 years by metal grating. Contrary to some previous reports elsewhere, it has not yet been fully refurbished. But one can see the promise there -- the promise of what's to come, and what will be maintained. Check out the photos below of the scene at this morning's ceremony. Are you excited for the new and improved Clifton's?

[Nathan Masters at LA as Subject has a treasure trove of pictures of Clifton's interior through the years -- check them out here!]

Workers on the roof awaiting direction to lift the tarp.
Every car - even the cruisers - checked out the scene as they drove past.
Most passersby had their phones out to document the scene -- or maybe this guy's just a huge Ed Fuentes fan.
Eventually the media realized the speechifying under the tarp was a lot less interesting than the unveiling itself, and moved across the street for the shot.
The media lineup.
Up the tarp goes...
We tremble with anticipation...
Voila! There she is, uncovered after all these years. Though clearly not yet spruced up, it's already a vast improvement from before.
These two approve, and they clearly know good style.


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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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