A Master List of the Vintage, Historic and Old School
Posted on May 10, 2015 by Nikki Kreuzer
We are lucky in Los Angeles to have a lot of spectacular vintage restaurants, but we are still losing many every year to owners who retire, sell out for money or lose their long-held lease to nasty gentrification. I’m a sucker for a joint with history, charm, character and stories. I’m not as selective about a menu as I am about the ambiance, atmosphere and what I am experiencing. I’m a junkie for vintage architecture and old signs. I pray that old places don’t renovate their mid-century or even mid-’70s decor. I often search the internet for authentic old-school spots in neighborhoods I visit and finding them is not always easy. After a lot of detective work I’ve compiled this “Master List” and plan to update it regularly. I’m sure there are many holes in my research and would appreciate additions and updates in the comments section below. My criteria for the restaurants here is that they are 1979 or older, although there are a few exceptions, and that they are within about an hour’s drive from downtown L.A. You will find classic steakhouses, Googie diners, pastrami delicatessens, walk-up hamburger stands and more. When the restaurant has a web page I provide that, but if not I share a link to a review, Yelp or Wikipedia. I keep this list continually updated. I add, subtract and make changes as needed. As of April 2017 the list is at just 403 places, spread as far south as the bottom of Orange County, east to San Bernardino and north to Santa Clarita. Cheers, my dears, and bon appetit! Love, Nikki
NOTE April 2017: In less than 2 years since I published this list, it has received nearly half a million reads! That shows me how much people care about our vintage restaurants. I have been working hard at photographing everything on this list and have a Google Map in the works broken down by type of restaurant, location and descriptions. My goal is to have it finished by May and and publish it here at the Los Angeles Beat. It will make it easier to find the vintage restaurant you are in the mood for by type of food and neighborhood. Please click to see additional photos I have taken of these places on both Instagram and Twitter.
(1924) Joe Jost 2803 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804.
Established as a barber shop & pool hall. Serving sandwiches and pickled eggs since prohibition was appealed, this old-time tavern features a wooden bar, wood booths and a pool room full of memorabilia.