The historic Clifton’s in downtown Los Angeles is scheduled to reopen in October after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When developer Andrew Meieran purchased the property at 648 S. Broadway and reopened it six years ago after $14 million in renovations, he expanded the public access from two to five levels of the building, much of which was converted into nightclubs and bars.
The cafeteria portion, however, continued to struggle financially and closed in late 2018. Then the pandemic arrived in early 2020.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month:
In an interview, Meieran said he’s aiming for a soft-open date of Oct. 15 for a few of those spaces — Pacific Seas on the fourth floor, the Monarch bar on the second floor and Brookdale Ballroom on the third floor. A ticketed grand opening party called “The Afterlife” is planned for Halloween.
The cafeteria, however, will not open until early next year. “It’s the most cramped space with our lowest ceiling,” Meieran said, noting that it would be difficult to open the space responsibly during the current COVID surge. Adults who come to Clifton’s, he added, will have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test.
The current plan is for the nightlife venues, which will have limited food options, to be open Thursday through Saturday, with hours expanding “as appropriate or able as far as staffing and COVID concerns go.”
Once the cafeteria does open, there will be a section with the expected classics — meatloaf, stuffing, Jell-O and other dishes you might see at Thanksgiving dinner — as well as a deli and salad station. A noodle bar concept that Meieran describes as “Pan-Asian” will stay open as a late-night dining option.
There’s also a plan to install a section of self-service food vending machines — or automats — what Meieran calls a “retro-futuristic thing.” (There originally was a plan to install vending machines in Clifton’s in the 1940s, Meieran said.) During slow periods, the cafeteria can rely on the automats to serve diners.
Clifton’s originally opened in 1935 near what was the original western terminus of Route 66 in downtown Los Angeles, before the highway was extended to Santa Monica. The restaurant closed in 2011 for the extensive remodeling.
(Hat tip to Scott Piotrowski; image of Clifton’s Cafeteria by Michael Li via Flickr)