Landmark downtown L.A. cafeteria to close for remodel


Clifton’s Brookdale cafeteria, a downtown Los Angeles landmark since the 1930s, will close for three to six months during a $3-million rehabilitation by the new owner.

The kitschy forest-themed restaurant at Broadway and 7th Street that has served millions of Angelenos will get several upgrades, including a new kitchen, said developer and nightclub impresario Andrew Meieran, who bought control of the business a year ago.

“The newest equipment was from 1949,” said Meieran, who will keep some of the old pieces such as giant mixers and boiling pots around as decoration. Some of the oldest gear dates from about 1915, when the building was home to a Boos Brothers cafeteria.


The linear cafeteria that served up pot roast, mashed potatoes, Jell-O and other comfort food will be reconfigured into “pod stations” to smooth the flow of tray-wielding customers, he said. The focus on familiar fare will remain, as will the woodsy dining room with multiple mezzanine decks, a 20-foot waterfall and fake redwood trees.

In addition to upgrading such infrastructure as the plumbing and electrical systems, Meieran will tear off the metal facade obscuring the front of the brick building that was attached in 1960 as part of a modernization effort.

Although the cafeteria will be closed Sept. 26, Meieran plans to open an artisanal bakery in the front of the building shortly. Holden Burkons, the former pastry sous chef at Craft restaurant in Century City, will bake bread, pies and other desserts for retail and wholesale customers.

After the cafeteria reopens, Meieran plans to launch niche night-life businesses inside the building. Among his plans are a small, tiki-themed bar in the basement and a third-floor speakeasy reached via a hidden entrance on the main floor.

Clifton’s “will be a true linchpin for making Broadway a destination again,” said Meieran, who also founded and designed the Edison nightclub in a century-old office building in downtown L.A.

Classic Hollywood apartments sold

A classic Hollywood apartment building commissioned by movie titan Cecil B. DeMille that has been home to generations of entertainers has been sold for $4.35 million.

Villa Bonita, at 1817 N. Hillcrest Road, was designed in Spanish Renaissance revival style and completed in 1929. At seven stories it towers over the rest of the neighborhood, said real estate broker Darin Beebower of Madison Partners.

He declined to identify the buyer, but real estate data provider CoStar Group said the 25-unit apartment tower now belongs to investor Heather A. Naylor. It was sold by Jeremy A. Miller.

Previous residents of Villa Bonita included actor Errol Flynn and director Francis Ford Coppola, as well as numerous magicians who have performed at the nearby Magic Castle. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Draft EIR released for Westside condo project

Plans by Miami developer Crescent Heights to build a dramatic luxury condominium tower between Beverly Hills and Century City moved a step closer to reality last week with the release of a draft environmental impact report for the project.

The Los Angeles City Planning Department wrote the draft report for the proposed $184-million tower at 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. that would be as tall as 39 stories and contain up to 282 units. An ancillary nine-story building would house parking and other amenities for residents.

The project would result in such significant environmental effects as shadows on surrounding properties and construction-related air, noise and vibration impacts, the report said. Responses to the report must be filed with the city by Oct. 31.