In the Land of Sensible Shoes

The Place: Nibblers, a restaurant and coffee shop, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; (213) 658-6080.

Atmosphere: All ages come here, but a large grandparent contingent dominates the beige and brown, ‘70s-style restaurant--where oft-closed drapes create a darkened living-room effect. Conversations about physical ailments (“She has a rash that’s drivin’ her crazy, it comes and goes”) and grandchildren float over servings of matzo ball soup, vege-burger patties and tuna salad.

Serving Up Style: Maternal waitresses tend to matters in dark green uniforms trimmed with white at the sleeves and collars, neutral stockings and beige sensible shoes. Waiters fuss in dark green aprons over white shirts, black pants and black sensible shoes.

Customer Themes: Dressier grandmothers wear penciled-on, arched eyebrows; pink nail polish; silky, colorful blouses--often trimmed with collar bows, modified ruffles and stuffed with shoulder pads. Dressier grandfathers wear suits, old-fashioned fedoras and pin-striped shirts. Casual grandmothers: white stretch slacks; white sensible shoes; perky, nautical-themed blouses. Casual grandfathers: white slacks, thick-soled comfortable shoes, parkas.


Hair Apparent: Grandmothers like light, medium and dark shades of gray, often coiffed into ventilated, mini-bouffants or lacquered, stylized curls. Grandfathers wear thinning white strands over pink pates.

Accessories: White purses, huge glasses (pink-tinted lenses optional), large wedding rings, necklaces with one small charm or medallion, golf caps, pictures of grandchildren.

Cardinal Rule: If thou art a grandmotherly type, thou shalt always say, whilst ordering, “Just the soup, please--it fills me up.”

Observation: Most of the waitresses, old and young, are tall and sturdy.


Overheard: First grandmother: “Did Keith get a job yet?” Second grandmother: “I don’t know--I was afraid to ask.”

Parting Statement: Grandmother to granddaughter, while looking at photos: “I don’t look at where you’re sitting, you realize, I just look at you. Isn’t that beautiful--you look like a movie star!”