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The Original Bob's Pantry, home of the Original Big Boy
4211 Riverside Drive, Burbank, California


Tommy's was founded in 1946 by Tom Koulax, the son of Greek immigrants. He's seen here at the Original Stand at Beverly and Rampart Boulevards in Los Angeles.


Tommy's Menu, c.1946 compared to 1996. Tommy's Cheeseburger for 35 cents then and only $1.65 now!



Philippe's location at
1001 North Alameda Street
c.1951


Pacific Dining Car #1 (yes it really all started with a real abandoned Dining Car), c. 1921


El Cholo Menu, c.1925, noting Combo Lunch for 45 cents and Combo Dinner for 60 cents!


California -- Los Angeles and Hollywood



Barney's Beanery opened in 1920 and since then has expanded and changed, yet maintained it's original appeal to the public. The wonderful atmosphere is largely created by the rich history of the restaurant. People such as Janis Joplin, who was rumored to have her last drink here, and Jimi Hendrix have dined at Barney's. The original hood over the stove that was used at Barney's over 80 years ago can still be seen in the restaurant. Known as the third oldest restaurant in the city of Los Angeles, the name Barney's Beanery was derived from the era of the depression when the restaurant used to serve beans on Route 66 (Santa Monica Boulevard). By combining the past and the present, Barney’s Beanery creates the inviting atmosphere that attracts so many people.
HOURS (Call 323.654.2287)
DIRECTIONS
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Bob's Big Boy Hamburgers. They're disappearing fast. Find one before they're all gone. Bob's Big Boy's 50th Anniversary in 1999 marked the beginning of the end for the history making chain.
HOURS (Call 818.843.9334)
DIRECTIONS

Click here for some great Big Boy Tribute Pages.
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Cafe 50's West L.A. Retro Diner
Cafe 50's was started by Craig Martin who doesn't quite remember the 50's but he was born in them! Growing up on a military base in Germany Craig grew up listening to AFN Radio (Armed Forces Network) a radio station for U.S. Military and Civilians living in Europe. Late at night he would listen to an 'oldies music show' called "Old Gold Retold" produced at the AFN Radio station in Frankfurt, Germany. After the oldies show, at midnight, AFN would play the Wolfman Jack Show! Of course Craig's parents thought he was sleeping, but in his basement bedroom he would be listening to classic American Rock and Roll! In college he became very familiar with music from the 50's by listening to KRLA and KRTH and from watching the movie "American Graffiti", the "Wanderer" and "Diner". Craig felt that L.A. lacked a dining hang-out where classic American cuisine is combined with 1950's nostalgia and the atmosphere of a neighborhood malt-shop.

His concept has been to combine the classic diner look coupled with a lunch counters, stools, stainless steel, a 1957 Seeburg Jukebox, lots of chrome, vintage booths and wallbox selectors located on the counter. The kitchen sits exhibition style so customers can watch their meals being cooked.

In an adjoining room, you can find authentic 1950's memorabilia with "B-movie" posters, a 1955 Muntz Television playing "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners" reruns and 50's newsreels, tin advertising signs, a trophy case with West L.A.'s University High School sports trophies and yearbooks, political Cold War era newspapers, Eisenhower and Nixon 1954 campaign slogans and even a Schwinn Bicycle hanging from the ceiling.

11623 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-1955
cafe50s@roadrunner.com
Open Daily 7 a.m.-Midnight
Friday & Saturday till 1 a.m.




Canter's Delicatessen has been a Los Angeles landmark since 1931. Complete breakfast, lunch, dinner menu available 24 hours. Fresh baked goods available from their bakery. Over the years Canter's has sold over:
  • 2 Million Pounds of Lox
  • 9 Million Pounds of Corned Beef
  • 10 Million Matzo Balls
  • 20 Million Bagels
  • 24 Million Bowls of Chicken Soup


OPEN 24 HOURS
(Call 323.651.2030 )
DIRECTIONS
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Clifton's Cafeteria has been a Los Angeles institution since 1888. At Cliftons most all of the food served is prepared from scratch. They produce what they feel is the best "comfort food" in town. Ala carte pricing allows you to customize your meal to satisfy you own personal taste.
(Call 213.627.1673 )
DIRECTIONS

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Since they first opened in the Farmer's Market in 1938, Du-Par's Restaurants and Bakeries has been known for providing quality foods at reasonable prices. A family-run restaurant chain, treating customers like family is their way of doing business. Today, thanks in part to that commitment, they have four locations. In addition to the original store in the Farmers Market, you'll find the distinctive Du-Par's logo in Studio City (1948), Thousand Oaks (1961) and at their newest restaurant and bakery in West Hollywood (1999), featuring a full bar, patio dining and a champagne brunch.
(Call
323.933.8446 )
DIRECTIONS

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El Cholo Cafe. This 'true institution' continues to produce 'green corn tamales straight from heaven' and the 'best, strongest margaritas in LA' after over 81 years 'these guys have got it down!'--since 1923.
(Call
323.734.2773 )
DIRECTIONS

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Farmers Market continues to proudly boast of its international cuisine, wide range of gifts from around the world, regularly scheduled special events for the family and outdoor flavor, not to mention the freshest and finest meats, poultry, seafood, produce and flowers in all of Los Angeles.
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H.M.S. Bounty. Mid-Wilshre's best kept secret. Can one go wrong with a ship-in-a-bottle behind the bar and a free jukebox with all the Sinatra and Peggy Lee 45's one could ask for? Forget theme bars that struggle to achieve this kind of atmosphere in a phony, late 90s kind of way. Walter Winchell and Jack Webb have booths dedicated to them here. This is the Real McCoy.
(
Call 213.385.7275 )
DIRECTIONS
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Opened in 1947 , almost forced out of business by recession and the urban blight of drugs and gangs in the early '90's, then rescued by - of all things in Los Angeles, a subway!--Langer's lives on, serving what many deli aficionadoes on both coasts consider the best pastrami sandwich in America. Norm Langer started working for his dad, Al, in 1963, and he's been there virtually every day since. Just west of downtown, in a neighborhood more shabby than chic, on a street corner at Seventh and Alvarado, it draws an eclectic and loyal clientele--including at least one Korean businessman who calls Langer's pastrami "Jewish kimchee."
(
Call 213.483.8050 )
DIRECTIONS
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The Lobster on Santa Monica's famous Fishing Pier first opened in 1923, closing for 10 years during the mid-80's. Plans first surfaced to resurrect the landmark restaurant in 1996, but stalled during attempts to preserve the site as an historical landmark. The remaining structure of the original building sits within the foundation and walls of the main entrance with "Established in 1923" recessed in the cornerstone. The 'new' restaurant preserves the wonderful menu and gastronomic tradition of the original 'The Lobster'.
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Miceli's Italian Restaurant. Miceli's was established in 1949, when Carmen and Sylvia Miceli gathered together their meager funds and, joined by sisters Angie and Millie and brothers Tony and Sammie, opened Miceli's Pizzaria -- Hollywood's first pizza house. Using family recipes brought from Sicily via Old Chicago, the Miceli's had people lined up and down the block, savoring their opportunity to feast with the Miceli family. Throughout the years, Miceli's in Hollywood and its sister location in Universal City, have drawn dignitaries and celebrities galore such as JFK and Richard Nixon and the Beatles to today's stars like Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, and Julia Roberts. What brings people back, besides the terrific food, is the unique atmosphere, friendly service, and live entertainment.
(
Call 323.466.3438 )

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Musso & Franks Grill. The oldest restaurant in Hollywood (since 1919, opened by John Musso and Frank Toulet), producing possibly the world's finest Martini. Or you can still sip some Postum!

A persistent, though apocryphal, story has it that Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, and Douglas Fairbanks once raced horseback down Hollywood Boulevard, the loser required to pick up the dinner tab at Musso & Frank. But then, judging by the old photo (left), one has to wonder....

As in the case of The Original Pantry (below), M&R is trading more on their almost 90 year history now, than on value for the dollar, and both the food and service are on a par with their original fare and quality, circa 1919. (e.g., overpriced and grade 'B' rated by the L.A. County Board of Health). Go there for the history, not the food.
(
Call 323.467.7788 )
DIRECTIONS

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Ocean Seafood. Downtown L.A.'s most popular Chinese Seafood eatery since 1954. Possibly the finest DimSum menu in Southern California.
(Call 213.687.3088 )
DIRECTIONS
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The Original Pantry. A Los Angeles eatery landmark since 1924. This used to be my favorite Golden Age Eatery in Los Angeles until former Mayor Reardon bought it and utterly ruined it's value-for-the-dollar reputation by doubling the price of every item on the menu across the board. The rude post-1950s service used to be tolerable when the price was still L.A.'s best meal bargain. Now it's just irritating. It's not the same place it was before, but it does have a heritage and history behind it. Bring LOTS of CASH! NO CHECKS OR CREDIT CARDS accepted, as would be expected for a place owned by an ex-politician. There's no rational reason to eat here any longer, unless you just want to make Mayor Reardon richer. Open continually, 24 hours a day for 83 years,
(Call 213.972.9279 )
DIRECTIONS
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Pacific Dining Car ... a tradition of excellence . Since its founding in 1921 by Fred and Grace Cook, the Pacific Dining Car name has stood for quality. Now in its third generation of ownership, that tradition continues.

The Pacific Dining Car is proud to serve only the best U.S.D.A. Prime Eastern Corn-Fed Beef. All steaks are aged on the premises to enhance their flavor and tenderness. Finally, the steaks are cut by their butcher, then grilled over mesquite charcoal to lock in all the natural juices.

Their 24-hour Breakfasts and Baseball steak are still the best meals--and bargains--in Los Angeles.

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At Papa Cristos Taverna the storefront does nothing to indicate the incredible Greek food and imported goods that inhabit this unassuming place. But their rack of lamb is near legendary, and the gyros, Greek salad, and spanakopita are sublime. And with such warm, friendly service and such great prices, it might be tempting to eat here every day! Adjacent to the dining room is a shop with shelves full of imported olive oils, cheeses, wines and liquors. Reservations are required for Thursday’s hugely popular “My Big Fat Greek Family Style Dinner.”
(Call 323.737.2970 )
DIRECTIONS
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Philippe's The Original is one of the oldest and best known restaurants in Southern California. Philippe's was established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, who claimed the distinction of having created the "French Dipped Sandwich."
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Pink's Hot Dogs. A Hollywood Legend Since 1939, Pink's is probably the most famous hot dog stand in the country... certainly in Los Angeles! Located near the corner of Melrose and La Brea, Pink's can be found by looking for a crowd of people and following the aroma of fresh meaty chili and soft hot dog buns.
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Taix French Country Cuisine. In 1912 Marius Taix Sr. built a hotel called the Champ d'Or in downtown Los Angeles' French quarter. In 1927, Marius Taix Jr. opened Taix French restaurant within the hotel serving chicken dinners for 50 cents at long "family-style" tables. Diners could choose private booth service for an extra quarter. Taix's novel food, unique service and affordable prices make it a Los Angeles institution.

The present location on Sunset Boulevard opened in 1962 and continues to be a family affair. Family style service has given way to private booths, but Taix French restaurant remains faithful to the famed tureen of soup, sourdough bread, and abundant portions of French country cuisine at affordable prices. The restaurant dynasty is carried on by Marius' son, Raymond Taix, who has made sure that the character of the restaurant has remained unchanged, and his son Michael, whose passion for wines has resulted in an extensive, award winning wine list. Taix Restaurant is proud of its' vintage staff; many can boast of serving more than three generations.
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Tommy's Original Hamburgers. On May 15, 1946, a young Tommy Koulax introduced Los Angeles to a hamburger with gusto. Fifty-four years later, L.A.'s love affair with his chili-topped creation is still going strong. Beginning with a ramshackle little stand on the corner of Beverly and Rampart Boulevards in Los Angeles, Tommy has fed an estimated fifty million Southern Californians
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For 88 years Yamashiro has watched over the history of Hollywood. It has witnessed the birth of the film industry, the glamour of Hollywood’s “Golden Age”, the difficult times of war with Japan, and the current period of intense interest in Eastern cultures.Yamashiro started as a fabulous private estate and is now open to the public as a unique restaurant and public gardens
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Georgia -- Atlanta

The Varsity Drive-in opened in 1928. Legendary for its famous chili dogs, onion rings and atmosphere, it's purportedly the world's largest drive-in and fast food operation. The Varsity Drive-In is open 24 hours and employs "curb-men" (the Varsity has always used men as car hops) and two double canopies. Inside, there's a continuously moving conveyor belt bringing food from the cooks to the 150 foot ordering counter. The interior can seat 800 customers. The walk-up counter inside is carnival-like with the staff barking "what'll ya have, what'll ya have!". There is also a gift shop inside selling Varsity t-shirts, hats, etc.
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Illinois -- Chicago, Evanston and Springfield

The Berghoff has been family-owned and operated for over 100 years, The Berghoff Restaurant offers a unique dining experience in the heart of Chicago's Loop. Neighboring Mies van der Rohe's Federal center on Adams Street, between Dearborn and State, the turn-of-the-century building and its Old World ambience suggest a vivid history and an enduring presence. From The Berghoff's beginnings as a cafe featuring Berghoff Beer to today's full-service restaurant, The Berghoff has become a favorite destination for generations of diners from Chicago and around the world.
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The Cozy Dog Drive In in Springfield, Illinois is the home of the one and only Cozy Dog. The Cozy Dog is a delicious hot dog on a stick that is found nation-wide at many county and state fairs. The Cozy Dog Drive In is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm. In the morning they have fresh cake donuts and other breakfast items such as eggs, pancakes, and french toast. Then for lunch and dinner they serve their world famous Cozy Dogs along with fresh cut french fries, hamburgers, homemade chili and homemade bean soup, pork tenderloins and other delicious food items.
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At Bill's Drive-In in Evanston, Illinois you'll find the Classic Chicago style (mustard, relish, tomatoes, pickle, onion, celery salt, sport peppers) Hot Dog. These are arguably the best Hot Dogs in Illinois outside of Chicago--some might say they're the best in the whole state, if not the whole country!.
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Massachusetts -- Boston

1826 marked the year the new owners of 41 Union Street installed the fabled semi-circular Oyster Bar—where the greats of Boston paused for refreshment. (Click here to see an original menu from the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House.)

It was at the Oyster Bar that Daniel Webster, a constant customer, daily drank his tall tumbler of brandy and water with each half-dozen oysters, seldom having less than six plates.

The toothpick was first used in the United States at the Union Oyster House. Enterprising Charles Forster of Maine first imported the picks from South America. To promote his new business he hired Harvard boys to dine at the Union Oyster House and ask for toothpicks.
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While the origin of Durgin-Park goes back to Revolutionary days, the era of fame for its chowders, Indian puddings, apple pan dowdy, johnny cake, and New England boiled dinners started some 130 years ago when John Durgin, in partnership with Eldridge Park, a livery man, and John G. Chandler, a dry goods merchant, took over. The theme followed to this day was decided upon then by these old Yankees, that the best advertising is plenty of food on the table.
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New York -- New York City and Manhattan

The 21 Club is the place to see and be seen in New York City for almost 75 years. Discover why everyone is so excited about our latest innovation, The Upstairs at '21'
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In the Algonquin’s Oak Room supper club you can return to the 20's and 30's as performers like Mary Cleere Haran, Jane Monheit, Diana Krall and Andrea Marcovicci sing the music of Porter, Gershwin, Kern and Berlin.
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Barbetta, 3 years away from its 100th Anniversary in 2006, is the oldest restaurant in New York that is still owned by the family that founded it. Barbetta is also the oldest Italian restaurant in New York, and the oldest restaurant in New York's Theatre District. This three-fold distinction makes this historic restaurant a landmark among New York restaurants. Its landmark status has been recognized by the prestigious and highly selective Locali Storici d'Italia, which has designated Barbetta a Locale Storico(Historic Establishment), the first restaurant in America to have been so named.
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Bayard's, a fine dining restaurant in the heart of the Financial District. They are located at One Hanover Square, near Wall Street. The building has been a family residence, the New York Cotton Exchange and a private club for overseas merchants and traders. Now, with the opening of Bayard's restaurant, a new chapter is being written for both the land-marked building and its stunning interior.
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The inspiration for Delmonico's came way back in the 1800's. Gi0vanni Del Monico, a Swiss-born sea captain envisioned a more genteel dining experience than could be had in the post taverns of the era. With his brother Pietro, he opened the first restaurant in America--Delmonico's, the first in a series of same-named restaurants that would flourish across America.
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Nathan's began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and grew to become the much-loved New York institution now available throughout the United States and overseas. Nathan's Famous recently entered a dynamic new stage, evolving from a company that owned and operated restaurants to a company that owns and markets brands.
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Rosie O'Grady's is a wonderful steak and seafood house in the tradition of the great New York saloons. A Broadway Theater District fixture, Rosie O'Grady's is centrally located near Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and a short distance from several major museums. Their handsome old bar is full of character and attracts regulars and tourists alike, serving superb continental and American fare.
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TipsOnTables.com features vintage reviews of famous Nightclubs and Restaurants, mostly from the New York area from Mr. Robert W. Dana, entertainment columnist for the now-defunct New York World Telegram and Sun. Mr Dana also hosted a television and radio show, interviewing restauranteers, chefs and nightclub personalities of the 1950's.
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Minnesota -- Minneapolis

Peter's Grill has been a Minneapolis institution for over 89 years, and is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the city. The restaurant has lived through many of the historical events that have shaped the United States over the last century - including the Great Depression, the second World War, and the fall of Communism.

Although the times have changed, the Peter's Grill experience remains much the same. The original Peter (Atcas) instituted three key principles when the restaurant first opened in 1914: serve high-quality homemade food, provide large portions, and make the meals affordable. These principles remain the driving force behind the restaurant's success today
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New Jersey -- Fort Lee and Atlantic City

Callahan’s Restaurant in Fort Lee and Little Ferry New Jersey, home of the famous “So Big So Good” Hot Dog since 1950. They are a family owned and operated establishment, and have gained an unparalleled reputation as one of the best hot dog restaurants in the U.S. Now you can buy their Hot Dogs online and have them delivered to your door throughout the U.S. via UPS shipping.
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In 1897, Harry "call me Dock" Dougherty opened Dock's Oyster House with 60 seats and very high standards. Harry's vision of a fine restaurant which served the best seafood and steaks available in a warm, friendly environment has been carried on by three generations of Doughertys who share his commitment to quality and service. That commitment has sustained Dock's through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the decline and rebirth of Atlantic City, and has established the family owned restaurant as a local institution.
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Pennsylvania

Hollister Moore's HollyEats.com showcases his favorite Roadside Cafes, Barbecue Pits, Diners, Hole-In-Walls, Greasy Spoons, Down Home Cooking Restaurants.

Forever a work in progress as there will always be another great joint just around the bend.
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Forbes and Bouquet in Oakland, PA, is home to the original Original Hot Dog Shop and has been the place to meet, grab a great dog, buy a six-pack or a pizza, hang out and enjoy incredible French fries since 1960. Sid and Essie Simon opened the place just before the World Series that ended with Bill Mazeroski's incredible home run at Forbes Field (only a block away.) It's been a crucial part of the nutrition and education of thousands of students at Pitt. Featuring some of the tastiest wieners anywhere, it's become a beloved destination for visitors from both around the city and around the globe. If you're coming to Oakland, you gotta have an 'O' Dog.

When it opened, the sign said the "Original Franks and Burger Shop"--but they had no hamburgers. The Simon family built the place's reputation with top quality hot dogs (now made locally by Silver Star Meats according to a secret recipe) and unusual attention to detail. Far from what one might call 'fancy', but then who wants 'fancy' when you're in the mood for a good old-fashioned American Hot Dog?? The food is fresh and fast, simple and excellent..
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Click to play Author's Playhouse, "Christmas By Injunction', from December 21, 1941