Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Mar 10, 2009 07:15 AM


Are there any really good historical diners in this area? I will be visiting for a wedding this summer and am always looking for good food. I love to visit small no frills diners. Also, I have heard of a art deco hot dog stand somewhere. I don't really know anything about it so a little help on that would be great also. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not really. Places like Rae's in Santa Monica have a diner like feeling. But if you are thinking about the places you see in the North Eastern part of the US, then no.

    We do have great example of googie architecture in Pann's near the LA Airport and near downtown there is Philippe's, one of the (if not the) oldest restauants in LA or the original Pacific Dining Car, also near downtown.

    Finally - there was this prior thread that asked about this subject with a lot of replies about places that I haven't been to - so you may get some other ideas:

    Philippe the Original
    1001 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
    6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

    Pacific Dining Car
    1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

    Rae's Restaurant
    2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

    1. We never had many "diners" out this way - instead, we had "coffee shops" but many of them have been torn down or repurposed. Pann's and Rae's are two good examples; architecturally Astro in Silver Lake is another good one (but the food is pretty mediocre).

      We also had a bit of what's sometimes called "programmatic" architecture - buildings shaped like the things the sell. Popular during the 1920s-1930s. Again, mostly long gone. You might be thinking of the Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand (I think this is now gone too?), shaped like a hot dog. There were also Chili Bowl shaped restaurants (one still stands on Pico in West LA, now a BBQ place) and tamale-shaped restaurants (one still stands in east LA, last I saw it was painted bring pink and now a beauty salon!). All of these places were small and had counters like the Pullman-car diners of the east coast.

      Astro Family Restaurant
      2300 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039

      15 Replies
      1. re: Vaya Con Carne

        Via con Carne, what is the place for the chicken fried steaks near DT? Is that a diner?

          1. re: Servorg

            Thanks for the quick search/reply, I guess I was asking if it would be considered a diner type place, for nblank53?

            1. re: Burger Boy

              I think the consensus would be that the prices might exclude the Blue Star from truly being a diner/truck stop :) Pretty much everything on the menu is $10+, so that might affect the authenticity factor.

              That said - it does have some of the other classic diner/truck stop/coffee shop elements in place: daily specials, a juke box, decent coffee generously poured.

              1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                Call it what you will, it may be a little more pricey than a diner, but it sure sounds like some good grub, I plan on going soon. Ciao

                1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                  was the chef/proprietor at blue star formerly cooking at 410 boyd st, near san pedro st.

                  1. re: kevin

                    I think so - Kash Brouillet is the owner. I remember him cooking at Millie's waaaaaay back in the late 80s-early 90s.

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        Yeah - there's a sort of Millie's connection to Blue Star. The owner used to cook at Millie's. And the Saturday cook used to own Millie's. But neither at the same time.

                        1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                          No wonder the chicken fried steak and gravy is so good. Millie's is still very good but back then it was F)*^))((**in GREAT!

                          1. re: Burger Boy

                            There's been several changes of ownership at Millie's over the years, and countless changes of cooks. I haven't been since the mid-1990s (I waitressed there 1994-1995) - once the atmosphere changed to the "no cell phones, be mean to the customers" rock-star shtick, I lost interest. Anyway, the Millie's cooks that IMO made the best CFS can now be found at Blue Star, where the service is super friendly and there isn't a two-hour wait for a table, so, it's win-win!

                            1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                              sweet i'm definitely off to blue star,is there a website and do you guys have direcxtions on how to get there, i remember it being on 14th st, off of alameda?/// but i could be wrong since i couldn't seem to find it.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Website and directions:

                                If going south on Alameda, turn left on 15th, pass a bunch of scrapyards and it will be on the right.

                                Do report back - thanks :)

                                1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                                  thanks for the direction, i don't know why i got lost on my last attempt. now i know where it's at, 15th not 14th, thanks.

                              2. re: Vaya Con Carne

                                I was going there in the late 80's with Magenta and then the first wave of new owners. It is still good but back then it RoCKED!

          2. "no frills diner"...Nicks Cafe in downtown LA.
            Kind of a divey shack joint that been there about 50+ years started by an LAPD detective and now owned by another LAPD detective. Great breakfasts, their special being the baked ham and eggs and the best homemade salsa...2nd best breakfast would be their Denver Omelette. Diner kind of feel with about 20 counter seats. Frequented by city/county workers and police. One waitress, one cook and one busboy operate the place.

            Open M-F 5am-2pm Sat. 5am-11am Closed Sunday
            WARNING: If you drive by when they're closed it looked like a condemed boarded up building.

            Nick's Cafe
            1300 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            2 Replies
            1. re: monku

              Nick's is really a hidden gem. Very good food, fair prices, some of the best ham in town. Are they still offering a BBQ special midweek?