WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — It’s Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, two days after Christmas. It’s hovering in the mid-60s outside. We’re in West Hollywood, Calif., where a modern-day, Southern California sun-tinted version of a Norman Rockwell painting plays out every morning at 470 N. La Cienega Blvd.
We’re at Norms, and the people are hungry.
What’s on the menu? Pretty much everything. We’re at Norms, buddy. There are around 150 different menu items.
The Clubhouse is a classic: a triple-decker sandwich constructed of white bread and strata of turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato. A T-bone steak and fried shrimp for dinner? Of course. How do you want that cooked? If you want a classic meatloaf lathered in gravy, you can have that too (or just make it at home).
But if you’re like most, you’re here for breakfast. Two eggs, ham, two strips of bacon, two links of sausage, hash browns and hotcakes will set you back ... $8.99.
Breakfast at a diner is comforting. The meal, the setting, the people and the experience are all reliable. It’s why actor Peter Stormare has been coming here for 22 years. His weekly breakfast at Norms includes three eggs, home fries and four strips of bacon.
“It’s pretty much always the same here and I think that’s what people like about Norms,” Stormare said.
Smiling beside Stormare is Ruthie Krocker. She’s been a waitress at Norms for 44 years. Her name tag reads “Mama Ruthie.” As Jenn Harris writes, “This is the face you want to see first thing in the morning.”
Genaro Molina is an award-winning staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times. He has worked in journalism for more than 35 years starting at the San Francisco Chronicle. Molina has photographed the life and death of Pope John Paul II, the tragedy of AIDS in Africa, the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and Cuba after Castro. His work has appeared in nine books and his photographs have been exhibited extensively including at the Smithsonian Institute and the Annenberg Space for Photography.