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Ever eat at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Downtown Los Angeles?
648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014 near Bullocks Downtown, The Biltmore Hotel and Loyola Law School, since 1931.

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Ana on November 22, 2022 at 8:30 PM said:

Yes! As a small child with my parents. I remembered it like a ghost of a memory and I am so happy to know other people had this experience! It was magical.
Paul Saevig, ‘67 on June 4, 2018 at 4:13 PM said:

Amen, Paul. I always liked cafeterias.

There was a good one in Beverly Hills called The Ontra. I believe it was actually on Rodeo, before it went so international.

I wish there were a good one near where I live. The SOUPLANTATION is too limited.
Paul Shepard on June 3, 2018 at 9:55 PM said:

Like Doug Elwell, I think I ate at Clifton’s once. I happened to find myself downtown and went in for lunch on a whim because I had heard of it all my life and had never been there. Shortly thereafter, I heard that it would be closing. With seven total mouths to feed, we couldn’t afford to eat out much at any price. In fact, the only times I can recall us eating out as a family were as occasional celebrations of the last day o& the school year.

In the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s those of the family still living in Southern California might get together for dinner at the Buttery or Arnold’s Farmhouse, until they closed; then at the Plantation, on Orangethorpe, which was owned by the former manager of Arnold’s Farmhouse. Buffet restaurants (such as Hometown Buffet) still exist, but they can’t hold a candle to the old places if one is looking for good old basic home-style food dishes such as those you mention.
Doug Elwell, ‘65 on June 3, 2018 at 8:06 PM said:

I ate there just once. I was working in downtown when I read Clifton’s was about to close. I made it a point to go eat lunch there before it closed. Can’t let icons pass without a tip of the hat.
Paul Saevig, ‘67 on June 3, 2018 at 4:48 PM said:

Thanks, Judy. I sure did go to Taix, up on Sunset Boulevard near Echo Park. It was a formal place with white tablecloth and from probably 1910 to 1960, an elegant place. I’ll get a picture.
Judy Scheid, ‘66 on June 3, 2018 at 4:44 PM said:

I went there with my parents a few times. I also went to Becky’s Cafeteria in Minneapolis (it was like Clifton’s cafeteria) when I was a beginning professor at the University of Minnesota. Do you remember the French restaurant Tai’s in LA where they served food at long tables in the 50’s?

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A lot of us remember Clifton’s Cafeteria as a wonderful place for good, American food. Probably we went with our parents, as they shopped at Bullocks or other downtown stores, or if our folks had offices downtown, or relatives nearby to take out. If you worked or studied downtown, it was a great place for a meal. 

They used to have a waterfall in the cafeteria, and stuffed animals, and it was considered spectacular in the 1930s. They helped the poor in the Depression, letting them eat without charge. I believe they have the policy of not turning away those who can’t pay, although I don’t know how that works.

For good, solid roast beef, pork chops, beef stew, spaghetti, lasagne, fried and broiled chicken, fish dishes, mashed potatoes, gravy,  scalloped potatoes, a variety of vegetables, fresh dinner rolls, soups, a variety of desserts, puddings, Jell-O and ice cream, and more, plus maybe breakfast, it was a wonderful place. Relatively inexpensive, and a great family place. 

It was blocks south of the City Hall, and of course the demographics have changed considerably since the 1950s and 1960s. It’s been mighty crowded on the sidewalks there since the 1970s. Plenty of the tall post-1950s office buildings are nearby. 

I guess about 2 miles north of USC, and our USC parents could take the J Line to downtown, have lunch at Cliftons, see a movie in a traditional movie palace, shop and take the streetcar back to school. 

You can be sure private eye Philip Marlowe stopped in for a bite plenty of times, but they don’t serve alcoholic beverages. 

Yes, there was a Clifton’s Cafeteria at the Broadway  Shipping Center in Anaheim in the 1960s, too. Same owner, same format.