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Here's Clifton's Lit Up in Neon For the First Time in Decades

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Clifton's Brookdale, the oldest surviving cafeteria in Los Angeles, has been undergoing a painfully long rehabilitation on Broadway—in 2010, Andrew Meieran of the Edison began work to restore the cafeteria's famous forest-themed hall; add a Polynesian restaurant and bar, an Art Deco bar, and a soda fountain; and otherwise return the cafeteria to the height of 1930s and '40s kitsch, but with all the complicated mixology of the 2010s. The opening date keeps getting pushed back and back (and Meieran's PR people aren't big on talking), but there's a bright new neon sign that things are wrapping up: last week, the huge sign was installed on the building's facade (which was covered with metal grates from the 1960s to 2012), and over the weekend it was switched on; this is the first sign of neon on Clifton's in "at least four to five decades," according to broker/blogger Brigham Yen.

The sign somewhat mysteriously says "Living History — Clifton's — Established 1932," but Clifton's Brookdale, the second in a chain of eight Clifton's, opened in 1935. (The Clifton's chain opened in 1931; the reference might somehow be to the Boos Brothers Cafeteria that preceded Clifton's in the Broadway space, although that opened way back in 1913.) The latest word is that Clifton's will reopen later this year.