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Mar 28, 2005 07:36 PM


  • t

So I was reminiscing earlier about when I was a little kid, and my family used to take me to a cafeteria at Century City, Clifton's. I remember getting green jello and macaroni and cheese. Anyway, eventually it closed down when I was about 8--it was where the Pottery Barn is now, I think, or maybe Crate and Barrel, whatever. So a little searching on Chowhound said there's a Clifton's downtown. Is this the same thing? Could it be?! After all these years, does a Clifton's Cafeteria still exist?

Oh, and speaking of Century City places that closed, does anyone remember the cookie seller in the department store? I don't remember which department store it was, but it was right by the entrance, I used to get chocolate chip cookies. Wow, that place was good. I think. I was 5 so it might've been nuthin' special.

Someone, please advise!

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  1. Yes, it's the same Clifton's. At one time there were dozens of Clifton's around town. I too ate green jello at the Century City location. I don't remember the cookie seller in the department store, but does anyone remember the food court with the supergraphics that said "pizza" or "sandwiches" above the stands? This was around 1966, and we had never seen anything like a mall food court before (I know, I'm dating myself). It seemed amazing to get all different kinds of foods in one place. Clifton's was still there when I worked in Century City in the mid-80s.

    1. I think the cookies were by David and they were in the Broadway store which has since become a Bloomingdale's.

      Iirc, David was from New York, where he had some fame for his cookies.

      1. Voila! Alas, only one remains.

        For a cafeteria, food is pretty good, especially if you throw in the nostalgia factor and the unique ambiance.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Jack Flash

          Did the downtown L.A. Clifton's used to be bigger? I remember going as a kid and it was a virtual wonderland with the waterfall and woodsy setting and tiered seating. It was such a treat to go there. I stopped in last year and, though it was 25 years later, it seemed sooooo tiny. And there were a lot of homeless types hanging out. And the food was pretty bad. I wish I hadn't spoiled my memories! Ah well.

          1. re: JJ

            It's pretty big. There are several dining levels (including one or two that are closed off, at least when it's not really busy, or maybe those are for special events - whatever); it still has the waterfall thing going on with the woodsy theme as well.

            As for the food...well, it's a cafeteria.

            1. re: JJ

              You remember the Olive St. location. I wish I did as I've only seen pictures (the old 7th St. location had a great collection of photos).

              Visit the link below for some great photos and links. Clifton's has a site as well; this site links to it as well as other Clifton-related sites.



          2. Wow, thanks. I'll have to try that Clifton's downtown at some point. You're right, Bob, it was called David's Cookies, I remember now, in Broadway department store.

            I can't remember the old food court. I remember when they put in all of the current stuff (well, 'current' as in before all the construction going on now) in probably the late '80s, the same time they got rid of Clifton's and did a lot of remodeling, and I vaguely recall what was there before this, but I was too young, really.

            Thanks for all the responses!

            1. s
              Silverlake Bodhisattva

              Yep, Clifton's was in Century City, at least into the late 70's; they had several other locations around town (sinage from a long-gone one can still be seen on the north side of W. 7th downtown near my office...)

              I'm thinkin' that as Californians got more attuned to baby lettuce, radiccio, pad woon sen and injera, the drawing power of steam-table vegetables, jello salad, and open-face turkey sandwiches fell off. Only a select few of us nostalgic odd-balls now regard this stuff with fondness (and, in many cases, ironic fondness; see the John Waters episode of "The Simpsons") and they're just not enough to revive these places (RIP Vickman's, Gorky's, and the TickTock in Hollywood!)



              2 Replies
              1. re: Silverlake Bodhisattva

                the good news about clifton's (on broadway) is that it's popular with latino families & they've really kept it alive. a new generation of kids have discovered its charms and seem to have fun with the decor. tres leches cake & mexican sodas have been added to the menu. for whatever reason, people with suitcases (?) like to hang out there. it remains fascinating, or depressing, depending on your outlook. it's dark & old downtown LA, much like cole's.

                1. re: petradish

                  The suitcases may be because the Greyhound Bus Terminal isn't too far from there. I remember my grandfather taking me there as a child, and getting a kid's meal. If you got a red flagged toothpick (and I think all kids did), you got to pick a prize out of a treasure chest on your way out.