Many of the glorious Googie-style restaurants, coffee shops, and diners that once proliferated across the Los Angeles area have been lost to the annals of time. Others, like Santa Monica’s Penguin coffee shop, have merely been hibernating. Constructed in 1959, but home to a dentist’s office since 1991, the Armet and Davis-designed establishment will soon be brought back to life as a Mel’s Drive-in.
As Los Angeles Magazine reports, Steven Weiss, who owns the Mel’s chain of restaurants, has signed a lease to take over the building and plans to rehabilitate the establishment, restoring some of its midcentury splendor. A report from the Santa Monica Planning Commission shows that plans for the project include the addition of an outdoor patio and a few other exterior changes, but most of the alterations will be made on the inside of the restaurant.
The cuisine will also be getting an update, from the sound of things. According to LA Mag, the restaurant will feature a juice bar, craft beers, and plenty of vegetarian options in addition to the traditional diner fare.
The restaurant will have 24-hour service, and to complete the its transition into the 21st century, each table will be outfitted with stations for phone charging.
For some terrific photos of the coffee shop in its heyday, head over to the LA Magazine website.