The most memorable local eateries along the highways and back roads of America
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums EatingTours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

 Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed

Author Message
Voyageur

Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Wed, 01/28/09 12:23 AM (permalink)
Great to see Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown LA get the recognition it deserves with a fine new Michael Stern review. 

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=6434&RefID=6283


Michael touched on the points I'd advise friends, such as to go at lunch and not at night. I'd add to park west of Broadway, not in the horrific skid road that lies just to the east (and that spills over in a somewhat less intense form onto Clifton's street).

My mother once worked at another now closed Clifton's branch. This company serves up a proud piece of Southern California heritage.
<message edited by Voyageur on Wed, 01/28/09 12:44 AM>
 
#1
    MiamiDon

    Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Wed, 01/28/09 5:44 AM (permalink)
    That is not what I expected it to look like!
     

     
    #2
      buffetbuster

      Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Wed, 01/28/09 8:56 AM (permalink)
      Although the fact that the neighborhood is bad bothers me, this is one of the Roadfood places I most want to visit.  I love cafeterias and the atmosphere sure seems unique.  Thanks for the tip on where to park Voyageur.  So all parking is street parking?
       
      MiamiDon-
      Thanks for inserting the great photo.
       
      #3
        Voyageur

        Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Wed, 01/28/09 10:59 AM (permalink)
        Truly descriptive photo, MiamiDon!

        buffetbuster, I love cafeterias too. 

        For Clifton's, yes, please park to the west. Parking in and walking from that area to Clifton's will make you far more comfortable, especially if you visit during the day. 

        Although it's is in a dodgy transitional area, Clifton's is just several blocks from LA's corporate district (see photo in link below). Within three blocks, you'll find the Biltmore Hotel, home of the 1960 Democrat Convention that nominated John F. Kennedy. Street parking is really difficult in this type of area.

        You may wish to use the parking facility under Pershing Square (a park), just two blocks away. This fronts the Biltmore Hotel. There's also a Red Line Metro station just north of the square, if that would be convenient. The Red Line serves Union Station, the Hollywood & Highland complex (including the Chinese Theatre,  the Kodak Academy Awards theatre), etc.  

        When you visit LA, you may wish to avoid staying in central/downtown or in the eastern area of Hollywood (east of the Hollywood & Highland complex), which is also a dodgy neighborhood. There's not much for you downtown, other than several beloved roadfood places like Phillppe's, sports like the Dodgers and Lakers, some cultural activities at the Music Center, and the Convention Center, if you're attending one of those. I'd also avoid staying in the area immediately around LAX. You'll find most sightseeing and area roadfood destinations elsewhere than the places mentioned. 

        Enjoy your visit! 
        <message edited by Voyageur on Wed, 01/28/09 3:03 PM>
         
        #4
          enginecapt

          • Total Posts: 3486
          • Joined: 6/4/2004
          • Location: Fontana, CA
          Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Thu, 01/29/09 11:15 PM (permalink)
          Don't forget The Original Pantry on S. Figueroa.

          When I go to Clifton's I use a 5 dollar lot off Hill between 7th and 8th. Safe and just enough of a walk to make you think you're getting post-prandial exercise.


          EDIT: I just read Stern's review. I'd hardly call the downtown crowd on the walk to and around Clifton's intimidating, but, then again, I live in South Fontana.....
          <message edited by enginecapt on Thu, 01/29/09 11:18 PM>
           
          #5
            Twinwillow

            • Total Posts: 4896
            • Joined: 4/15/2006
            • Location: "Big D"
            Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Fri, 01/30/09 12:20 AM (permalink)
            An interesting story about my own experience with Clifton's. In 1958, right after I graduated high school on Long Island, I took a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles to study acting. While living in the YMCA ($1.50 a day) in downtown Los Angeles, a few of my fellow starving actor friends told me about Clifton's. Back then, it was .98 cents to get in and it was all you can eat. They stamped your hand with a rubber stamp and with that stamp, you could go back and get more food. Well, it didn't take long for us to figure out that if we didn't wash that hand, the stamp would still be showing for about another 3 days. So, we got about 3-4 more meals before the stamp faded.
             
            #6
              ellen4641

              • Total Posts: 3531
              • Joined: 5/1/2004
              • Location: Egg Harbor Township, NJ
              Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Fri, 01/30/09 12:46 AM (permalink)
              too funny, Twinwillow, with that rubber stamp!

              I miss the Clifton's that used to be in the Lakewood Center Mall..
              they closed it about 7 or so years ago...
              they put a new ubiquitous food court in a different area of the mall..   there was not much reason for me to go to that mall after that.........the main reason was for my Clifton's (and the hot turkey platter! (with as much skin as I could get the guy to give me)


              I also went to the Clifton's in the West Covina Mall..
               
              #7
                Voyageur

                Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Fri, 01/30/09 10:54 AM (permalink)
                enginecapt


                EDIT: I just read Stern's review. I'd hardly call the downtown crowd on the walk to and around Clifton's intimidating, but, then again, I live in South Fontana.....

                Yes, it's not exactly Crips versus Bloods outside the door or other criminal activity.
                 
                Will use your parking recommendation next time. Thanks.


                Twinwillow

                Well, it didn't take long for us to figure out that if we didn't wash that hand, the stamp would still be showing for about another 3 days. So, we got about 3-4 more meals before the stamp faded.


                No wonder my mom was laid off due to lack of profit!
                <message edited by Voyageur on Fri, 01/30/09 11:00 AM>
                 
                #8
                  catosaurus

                  Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Fri, 01/30/09 11:46 AM (permalink)
                  Ah, memories of Clifton's!  I'm an LA native, and for many years when I was a child, my mother would take me to downtown LA during the pre-Christmas shopping season.  We'd shop in the big, beautifully decorated department stores (Robinson's, The May Company, and The Broadway), have my visit with Santa (taking the requisite "cute" photo), then on to lunch at Clifton's.  Clifton's used to give a toy away to kids with their lunch.  I think there was a treasure chest of some kind that we'd reach into and pull out our selection.  All the items were cheap and/or cheesy, but they seemed extravagant and magical to me at that age.  We'd eat our lunch surrounded by the exotic decor and listen to the indoor fountains.
                   
                  #9
                    Angelle

                    • Total Posts: 43
                    • Joined: 6/18/2004
                    • Location: Los Angeles, CA
                    Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Sat, 01/31/09 4:26 AM (permalink)
                    I, too, am a native of Los Angeles and I remember going to Clifton's to eat lunch after we shopped at the Broadway department store across the street. My mother, sister and I would take the street car downtown.

                    I loved going into the Clifton's  that had the "Garden" it had a presentation of some type that showed Jesus. It was dark, and  always a bit spooky for us kids, but quite an adventure, and we looked forward to going.

                    I loved the baked turkey & dressing, jello with whipped cream the best.

                    It breaks my heart to see that area of downtown now and how downtrodden it has become. Back in the day it was thriving, and a place you wanted to be.
                    However, I am thrilled about the renovation of the downtown area and the new hotel that is being built, the million dollar condos (which are almost all sold), the Nokia theatre, and all of the new clubs/ that have opened up. There are plans for so many upscale restaurants, shops, state of the art grocery stores, and many exciting experiences will come back to the downtown area.

                    Clifton's was the BOMB back in the day, and thank you for a trip back to my childhood.
                     
                    #10
                      1bbqboy

                      • Total Posts: 4542
                      • Joined: 11/20/2000
                      • Location: Rogue Valley
                      Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Wed, 02/4/09 8:02 PM (permalink)
                       
                      #11
                        Voyageur

                        Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Wed, 02/4/09 10:51 PM (permalink)
                        Thank you, Bill.

                        Have read many good articles about Clifton's and its owners, but that's the best.
                         
                        #12
                          enginecapt

                          • Total Posts: 3486
                          • Joined: 6/4/2004
                          • Location: Fontana, CA
                          Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Fri, 08/28/09 1:15 AM (permalink)
                           
                          #13
                            Twinwillow

                            • Total Posts: 4896
                            • Joined: 4/15/2006
                            • Location: "Big D"
                            Re:Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, reviewed Fri, 08/28/09 9:13 AM (permalink)
                            That's too bad. I have many wonderful memories of Clifton's as a young man living in downtown LA during the late 50's.
                             
                            #14
                              Online Bookmarks Sharing: Share/Bookmark

                              Jump to:

                              Current active users

                              There are 0 members and 2 guests.

                              Icon Legend and Permission

                              • New Messages
                              • No New Messages
                              • Hot Topic w/ New Messages
                              • Hot Topic w/o New Messages
                              • Locked w/ New Messages
                              • Locked w/o New Messages
                              • Read Message
                              • Post New Thread
                              • Reply to message
                              • Post New Poll
                              • Submit Vote
                              • Post reward post
                              • Delete my own posts
                              • Delete my own threads
                              • Rate post

                              2000-2014 ASPPlayground.NET Forum Version 3.9
                              What is Roadfood?  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright 2011 - Roadfood.com