Los Angeles’s Oldest Surviving Restaurants


I made a map of Metro Los Angeles’s oldest extant eateries based on a piece written by Nikki Kreuzer for The Los Angeles Beat titled “Offbeat L.A.: The Oldest Surviving Los Angeles Restaurants… a Master List of the Vintage, Historic and Old School.” The Los Angeles Beat piece seems to have received a fair amount of feedback and also includes restaurants in Orange County and the Inland Empire. Many are not in their original locations and operating under a slightly different name but it’s still really interesting.

This map and article, however, are not endorsed or affiliated by the staff of The Los Angeles Beat. I am indebted to Kreuzer for her work, however, and for the additions provided by readers of The Los Angeles Beat.

Some of the restaurants I like a lot — especially the old checkered tablecloth Italian places that send Gordon Ramsay into conniptions. Many, though, are relics of an era when vegetarians like myself were regarded as morally louche and thus subjected to the cucking stool, pillory, or worse. Their meat-eating peers, meanwhile, feasted on exotic grotesqueries like tuna Jell-o, ham and bananas hollandaise, and beef suet and in some cases the menus still cater to these inscrutable, antiquated palates. Inclusion on the map, in other words, is based only upon age is neither an endorsement of quality nor renouncement.  Besides, even the restaurants at which I may never eat are still important for their architecture, decor, neon or incandescent signage, mascots, history, and general documentary truths, so bon appetit!

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of Brightwell’s maps are available from 1650 GalleryHe is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiTwitter, and Weibo.
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