Clifton’s Merges Downtown Sites

Clifton’s Silver Spoon on West 7th Street has gone the way of Clifton’s Century City and Clifton’s Pacific Seas--out of business.

Owners of the much-beloved chain of Los Angeles cafeterias said they were forced to merge the 22-year-old restaurant with their downtown eatery two blocks away, Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria, for economic reasons.

“There are so many buildings empty around that restaurant they were losing money,” said Tony Perez, the manager at the surviving eatery on Broadway and 7th Street.

The Silver Spoon, which officially served its last meal on Friday, is only the most recent closure of the eateries founded by Clifford Clinton, who named his cafeterias with a combination of his own first and last names.


Clifton’s Pacific Seas, on Olive Street, was shuttered in 1960 in favor of a parking structure. That restaurant--known for its thatched huts, artificial palm trees, singing servers and “pay what you can” policy--provided 10,000 free meals during the Depression.

The Century City restaurant closed in 1987, when the owners of the mall there decided the cafeteria was incompatible with a new upscale food court.

Four Clifton’s remain, including the downtown eatery, one in West Covina, one in Laguna Hills and one in Lakewood.

“It’s painful,” said Peter Clifton, grandson of the founder and an employee at the West Covina establishment. "[We] appreciate all the customers and associates who made it work over the years.”