Cafeterias generally bring to mind long bench-seat tables, boxed milk and food fights, but you won’t find any of those at the woodsy Clifton’s Cafeteria. After spending the last four years undergoing $10 million in renovations, the 80-year-old, LA-staple is getting ready to re-open its doors to the public on October 1 and it looks like it may just become the city’s most fascinating restaurant.
Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka
Even though Clifton’s wasn’t exactly known for its amazing food back in the day, it was beloved for its dedication to LA locals. In fact, the restaurant was known to serve anyone who walked inside, regardless as to how much they were able to actually pay. It was for this reason why, when it closed in 2011, The Edison restaurant's Andrew Meieran stepped in to bring it back to life.
Photo Credit: Clifton's Cafeteria
The log cabin-esque eatery now features a massive redwood in the middle of a three-story atrium, five different bars (including one sourced from a 1,700-year-old sequoia tree), small models of LA landmarks hidden throughout, glass-enclosed exhibits with taxidermy mammals within, and little caves where you can find small displays. There’s also a second restaurant inside and a speakeasy planned for the basement. The interior basically looks like a giant Natural History Museum that serves food. Speaking of which, Clifton’s menu consists of classed-up standard cafeteria foods, like pizza and sandwiches, and will be open 24 hours a day.
Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka