Segment | Culture

Postcards from SoCal: Clifton's Cafeteria

Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown, Los Angeles, opened in 1931 during the Great Depression. The late Clifford Clinton decorated Clifton's Brookdale to look and feel like a redwood forest, complete with waterfalls and animatronic forest creatures. Clinton thought a redwood theme would soothe patrons stressed out about the economy. Today, Clifford's grandson, Robert Clinton runs the restaurant and says the theme still works, "when people come in they say they feel like they've been on vacation for at least an hour."

Clinton needs a little relaxation himself. During this economic downturn, he's had to cut employee hours and sales have dropped at the cafeteria by fifteen percent. When asked if he's worried, Clinton earnestly replies, "through the Lord's blessing we've been able to survive, we've been through several depressions over the years and I have no doubt we'll make it through another one."

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i love this place, even though i did not grow up in socal, this place brings back memories of my childhood, of truck stops with multi-colored jello, canned cherry pies, and the backwoods feel of the forests of canada.

I lived around the block from Cliftons for about 3 years and had many a long lunch up in the trees there with a good book. Can't say the food was the best, but during lean freelancing months it was the proverbial "good value." It's basically like a casino buffet off the strip...

The food is amazing. The roast beef with mashed potatoes....oh, yea, you can't get it any better than that...unless you go to the Tam O'Shanter in Atwater, and that will cost a pretty penny my friend.