The highly-anticipated reopening is scheduled for mid-October.
The last remaining cafeteria from the Golden Age of cafeteria dining and the largest public cafeteria in the world, Clifton’s, is set to reopen mid-October, according to a recent Instagram post.
The depression era building, which opened in 1935, was originally a two-story cafeteria and was noted for never turning anyone who couldn’t afford to pay, charging customers who couldn’t afford to pay, no more than half a penny. During a three month period, some 10,000 people ate for free before an eatery dedicated to feeding families for a penny opened up in a nearby basement.
75 years later, the original owners sold the space to entrepreneur Andrew Meieran. After what felt like an eternity of painstaking refurbishment and restoration work, Clifton’s at 7th Broadway in Downtown L.A. reopened in 2015 preserving part of the cafeteria, adding bars and a ballroom to the rest of the site.
Although the new additions proved popular amongst Angelenos, the cafeteria didn’t experience the expected renaissance and closed in 2018. With another year shut while year of navigating lockdown hurdles, this beloved ode to a bygone age of dining is opening once again. This unique complex features various experiences spaces which include a fantastical, three-story atrium with a high redwood replica in a non-historic section.
Not everything will open this October but the owners hope to have the Pacific Seas tiki bar on the fourth floor, the Monarch bar on the second floor and Brookdale Ballroom on the third floor will open. There will also be a ticketed grand opening party dubbed “The Afterlife” in celebration of Halloween. The cafeteria will open at a later stage when it’s logistically feasible for high volumes of people to beating indoors again. Once it is open, patrons can expect classics like meatloaf and jello along with pan-Asian offerings.