Clifton's Cafeteria on Broadway, also known as Clifton's Brookdale, is making its slow and deliberate way toward reopening, now four years into a huge renovation. Owner Andrew Meieran's camp has been pretty tight-lipped about what's going on over there, but if last week's big neon sign relighting is any indication, things may be wrapping up soon (at least one source says it'll be open by the end of the year). The facade seen now by passersby was only recently unveiled; for decades, Brookdale's lovely exterior details were hidden behind bo-ring metal panels. Now, Clifton's is looking more and more like it did when it first opened up in 1935, designed to be a fanciful distraction from the financial misery of the Depression.
Named for the Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz Mountains and one of eight in a chain, the Broadway Clifton's location was a woodsy wonderland on the inside, with rocks, foliage, real redwoods, and a running stream, the founder's son told Collector's Weekly last year. We've gathered a few photos that really capture that whimsy and magic of this place, where live canaries once sat in real trees among crowds of hungry Angelenos: