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Clifton's Cafeteria still serving -- and has no plans to stop

Line The news that the downtown building housing Clifton’s Cafeteria is for sale worried its customers and employees, says Robert Clinton, president of Clifton’s Cafeteria Inc. But he says his family has “no intention” of closing the historic Broadway restaurant.

“We have a business that’s been going since 1931,” he said over coffee this morning. “We have a commitment to our associates [employees] and our customers.”

Regular customers asked where they'd go without Clifton's, he said.

Clifton’s was bustling with breakfast business, and Clinton says summer is often busy. Foreign tourists like the cafeteria, he says, because they can get a meal without worrying about crossing the language barriers.

Not that the times are easy. Clinton calls the sale “a strategy to help us survive this tough time.”

The family wants a buyer who will then rent the space back to them and who “has a fondness for historical properties.” The Clintons bought the building in 2006.
Clifton’s is the last of eight cafeterias the company once operated in Southern California.

-- Mary MacVean

(Clifton's earlier this year, by Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Comments () | Archives (14)

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Remember going there back in 1972, it was me & my sister mother and grandmother, and I know that my grandmother also took my mother there to eat as a child, I now want to take my children there to eat. That place sure brings back memories. I loved the atmosphere I remember seeing as we walked into the cafeteria.

On Monday, my friend and I are going to visit your wonderful restaurant, Clifton's.This will be our first visit since experiencing it more than 60 years ago as children. My mother used to take me down there for shopping, and I always came away with a beautiful gardenia. Loved it. See you on Monday. This place needs to stay as a special place for mothers and daughters.

Absolutely love Clifton's and would be very depressed if it went away. Hopefully they'll be smart and make the sale of the building CONTINGENT on an indefinite (or at least long-term) lease to the cafeteria; otherwise I'm afraid its continued existence is wishful thinking.

I used to go to Clifton's with my mother after a day at the movies in downtown Los Angeles. we would see a matnee at the Los Angeles theatre, State or Palace theatre then go and eat (at Clifton's) and sit amoung the redwood tree's, then hope on the "S" car and ride back home to 33rd and San Pedro Street, thats where we lived. I just recently celebrated my 63th birthday at Clifton's all my friend thought I was crazy until they experienced the fun and good food. I hope it never closes.

My great-grandmother and I used to go to Clinton's when I was a young child. Going there was our special adventure with each other. I certainly hope Clinton's says in business. It is truly a historic landmark that has touched the lives of people of all ages through the years.

This cafeteria is the best in the world that I have eaten at. I have been to more than two dozen countries as part of my entertainment travels and none come close to Clifton's Cafeteria. Los Angeles should be proud to have such a historical establishment. Los Angeles should do whatever in order to keep this business active. My father still works there and is proud of being part of the Clifton's tradition. As a kid my father used to take us there every other Sunday and now as an adult every opportunity I get I take my children to enjoy a good meal and especially a piece of "German Chocolate Cake..." yummy the best in the city. Please, pass the word out to all Angelenos in order to support the Clifton's family and its employees to remain an open establishment for the best interest of Los Angeles.

I used to go to one in Downey when I was a little kid. It was a real treat back then!

just rediscovered clifton's please don't close it now, recently took my grandson, he loved it!

I do wish that they would get on board with the new influx of loft lovers and old broadway hipsters.
They should consider sizing down and revamping the menu, open the hours later to coincide with the events like Art Walk and the Cicada Club.
It would be such a shame to have this go.
I am in my mid 20's and take my pals that visit here always, and they love it.
Please send a smart investor to the rescue, one that understand the kitsch of the 'Cab Calloway era'

My family and I used to eat at the one just outside Sears in the West Covina Mall.... so many good times. I was crushed when they closed a few years ago.

I went there recently and the sever was rude.

I remember stumbling into Clifton's and thinking about how unique their business model has become in todays marketplace. It's really good to hear that they are planning to stay open.

With the Broadway streetcar coming online, I think their venue could succeed. The streetcar will allow for locals and tourists to easily traverse historic Broadway street and businesses will directly benefit from all the foot traffic.

I have fond memories of Clifton's Cafeteria, my family would take us there after a movie or a day of shopping at the Grand Central Market. I recently went back to visit the old haunt and was dissapointed. The atmosphere is still the same, a throw back to the 30's but the price sure wasn't. I'd rather spend my money at a place where the food quality is adaquate to the price I'm paying for it.

I remember going to Clifton's almost 60 years ago with my Mom when we would go downtown. It was always a treat.
I'm glad it's still there.
Marty Sherman


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