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Tiki Central Forums » » Bilge » » Totally bizzarre!!! Clifton's 'Brookdale' cafeteria in downtown L.A.
Totally bizzarre!!! Clifton's 'Brookdale' cafeteria in downtown L.A.
donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1179
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2007-10-23 08:11 am   Permalink

I'm sure some of you SoCal people have been to this place. I was there on Saturday. Amazing! The fact that that place still exists is mind blowing enough. It is probably one of the most surreal places I have ever visited. The 'Little Chapel' was nuts!!!

 
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bigtikidude
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 9223
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2007-10-23 12:43 pm   Permalink

I keep wanting to go, as I have been to the Brookdale Lodge( 3 times) in Santa Cruz Mountains that this place was designed after.
But I keep forgetting about it.

Jeff(bigtikidude)


 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5862
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2007-10-23 1:36 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-23 12:43, bigtikidude wrote:
I keep wanting to go, as I have been to the Brookdale Lodge( 3 times) in Santa Cruz Mountains
Jeff(bigtikidude)



They have Tiki Tuesdays.
Nothing big, just Polynesian food and drink specials.



Brookdale Lodge

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Tiki-Kate
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Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2007-10-23 5:44 pm   Permalink

Clifton's is bizarre and wonderful.

I had some jell-o there last year.


Some artifacts displayed upstairs.



The nutty little chapel.



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donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1179
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2007-10-23 10:26 pm   Permalink

I hate to keep hating on NYC but everytime I go to LA I always find stuff that would never exist here in Manhattan. At one time a place like Clifton's probably existed in New York, but today a spot like that would be sure to see the wrecking ball much sooner than later. There is such a premium on space out here that a place as old and as interesting as Clifton's would be replaced by either a condo, a Barnes and Noble, a CVS, or any other high priced residence or corporate entity without even a second thought.

 
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BettyBleu
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Joined: Jun 20, 2003
Posts: 225
From: Island Oasis Backyard (So Cal)
Posted: 2007-10-23 11:12 pm   Permalink

There used to be a South Seas-themed Cliftons too. Closed a long time ago.

http://www.cliftonscafeteria.com/home.html

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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5862
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2007-10-24 4:44 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-23 13:36, Unga Bunga wrote:
They have Tiki Tuesdays.
Nothing big, just Polynesian food and drink specials.

Brookdale Lodge


Correction ~ They no longer have Tiki Tues.


By the way, this place is also a must visit for TCers.


 
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Shipwreckjoey
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Joined: Nov 29, 2002
Posts: 1794
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2007-10-24 7:17 pm   Permalink

When I wuz just a sprout my grandparents would take me to Cliftons. It was the one in Lakewood, about 30 miles south of downtown L.A.

 
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Tigerlily
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 06, 2005
Posts: 144
From: Glendale, CA
Posted: 2007-10-29 12:47 am   Permalink

I love Clifton's and go there all the time. I hope it survives the downtown Renaissance with all the trendy/pricey condos and celebrities that are taking over downtown. I'm keeping my fingers crossed we don't loose it.
The Clifton's in West Covina closed a few years ago right before I made it out there. It had just closed with the signs and stuff still in the windows, I was bummed.


 
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2026
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-10-29 01:12 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-23 22:26, donhonyc wrote:
I hate to keep hating on NYC but everytime I go to LA I always find stuff that would never exist here in Manhattan. At one time a place like Clifton's probably existed in New York, but today a spot like that would be sure to see the wrecking ball much sooner than later. There is such a premium on space out here that a place as old and as interesting as Clifton's would be replaced by either a condo, a Barnes and Noble, a CVS, or any other high priced residence or corporate entity without even a second thought.



This is why the closest thing NYC has to a vintage Tiki bar is Jade Island on Staten Island, a circa 1970s Chinese food place (Chicagoans will recognize Jade Island as a very close relative to Chef Shangri-La).





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woofmutt
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Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2639
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2008-01-14 12:47 am   Permalink

I'm surprised to see that this is the only thread on Clifton's. As others have said it really is a must visit for any Tiki Centralite while in L.A. I was there a couple of years ago and couldn't believe I'd never heard of it before (either here or from some "Cool Places" article). But I also talked to several hipster SoCalifusans who had never heard of it or had never been.

The pictures on Clifton's site are vintage but the place hasn't changed much, so they give a good idea of what it's like. There are also a a couple good pictures at You-Are-Here (a neat site with pictures of SoCal architecture and food taken by a visiting German.) There are also some pictures and a good article at Roadside Online.

Even without the swell interior Clifton's would be worth a visit as it's a classic cafeteria style restaurant. You take a tray, go through a line of food items, make selections, and your bill is rang up based on what's on your tray. The food selection is pretty large and isn't bad, certainly no worse than Denny's. (I was there for breakfast right after a week on a Princess cruise ship and I am not exaggerating: Clifton's food was far superior to anything I had on Princess). The food offerings reflected the preferences of the core clientele which seemed to be a lot of older people. There were also Mexican food items such as freshly grilled jalapenos.

The upstairs at Clifton's is set up for large groups and banquets. The decor there is worth a look as it's that California Gold rush/1960s Victorian style (somewhat ornate moldings and velvet flocked wallpaper) that was popular for restaurants into the early 1970s and every western movie saloon from that period.

Near the front of the main floor there were also some pictures from Clifton's Pacific Seas. Many of these I don't think I'd seen before and they gave a good idea of what an incredible place that was.
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weirduncletiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 756
From: Grape Town, California
Posted: 2008-01-14 9:21 pm   Permalink

Clifton's is certainly one of my favorite Los Angeles Bizarro destinations. Here's a post I made on another thread back in 2003:

Well, it's been over a year since I was in there. The food was fine for steam-table cafeteria food. The waterfall was in effect as were the animatronic woodland creatures. The neighborhood is sort of on the sketchy side and as I was using the lavatory I heard sirens outside, then a team of paramedics rushed in and burst down the stall door next to where I was standing. Inside was a very still and quiet person sprawled on the floor next to the toilet. They started administering aid, but I didn't stick around to find out the ending to the story of my lunchtime at Clifton's.

Weird Unc says "Check it out!"





 
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Ojaitimo
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Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 1317
Posted: 2008-01-14 10:26 pm   Permalink






































 
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Coco Joe
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Joined: Sep 27, 2008
Posts: 724
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2009-11-12 10:54 pm   Permalink

this place rocks!

 
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The Below Decks
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Joined: Apr 26, 2013
Posts: 718
Posted: 2015-07-20 11:35 am   Permalink

This from today, Monday, 7/20/15, on Eater LA:

And more news from the yet-to-open space.

Still waiting for Clifton’s Cafeteria to reopen Downtown? Join the party. The long-awaited space has been showing signs of life lately (including a fancy new light-up sign that was erected a few months back), and today comes confirmation that a few big names are fully attached to lead the opening charge.

First up is chef Jason Fullilove, who only recently left Malibu Pier restaurant for (at the time) parts unknown. Prior to that, Fullilove had worked with Mark Peel at Campanile / Tar Pit, as well as Patina’s slate of LACMA-based offerings.

On the operations side, Anuar Pinto Valesco arrives after a long stint with Neal and Amy Knoll Fraser, serving as BLD’s general manager and catering head for the rest of the group’s portfolio. Meanwhile, the bar side of things (which is projected to be its own very large beast) will be manned by Damian Windsor, who helped to open The Roger Room and consulted on many of the city’s most popular bars, from Bar Marmont to Bar Lubitsch and beyond. Most recently, Windsor has been working at Warwick, and Hollywood’s reformatted Power House.

The trio of names staking themselves to the upcoming Clifton’s rebirth certainly brings hope that a new beginning can’t be far away, though the heretofore tight-lipped ownership team won’t peg an arrival date. For now, the construction is still ongoing.


 
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