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Clifton's Cafeteria building in downtown for sale

August 5, 2009 | 11:11 am

Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times The nearly 47,000-square-foot building — with five stories, plus a basement — that houses kitschy Clifton's Cafeteria is on the market for $4.75 million as its owners, the Clinton family, struggle to keep the cafeteria-style restaurant afloat.

Once part of a successful chain of eight restaurants, the only remaining Clifton's is the last vestige of Old Broadway, and it serves food to match: roast turkey, ham, fried chicken, eerily bright vegetables, Jell-O salads and the like. But it's Clifton's decor that has made it famous: The interior looks like a down-at-the-heels Disney version of a Bavarian forest. Tree murals adorn the walls, a fake brook babbles past a miniature log cabin and an automated raccoon perpetually peeks out from an old barrel at the front entrance.

The Clinton family, who founded the restaurant chain, bought the building in 2006 as a way to shield themselves from the slings and buffets of the economy, but changing tastes and a recession have not been kind.

Donald Clinton — son of the cafeteria’s founder, Clifton Clinton — told The Times in February that business had been down 30% in the previous six months... 

Broker Ed Rosenthal said the ideal buyer would be able to improve the building and restore it to its previous splendor while allowing the cafeteria to continue operating there. But in the meantime, the family, he said, “is hoping to get lucky .... [to] just make some money.”

Click here to read the full story by Cara Mia DiMassa.

-- Elina Shatkin


Clifton's Cafeteria: The place where L.A. finds itself

Photo: Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times