When Andrew Meieran, owner of Downtown nightspot The Edison, bought Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway about 18 months ago, there was some consternation. He was taking over a business run for generations by one family, neighborhood favorites who never turned away a penniless customer. Meieran’s known for $14 drinks and doormen.
It’s now clear that there will be many changes to Clifton’s: it will soon serve alcohol in a few differently-themed bars within the building, and one floor will be occupied by an upscale restaurant. Even the offerings at the ground-floor cafeteria will change: smaller portions, better ingredients, is the idea.
But the historical decor will be kept intact wherever possible, and it looks like it will even be treated with greater respect by Meieran than by the previous owners. To that end, on Wednesday morning Meieran unveiled the original facade of the building, covered for more than 50 years by metal grating. Contrary to some previous reports elsewhere, it has not yet been fully refurbished. But one can see the promise there — the promise of what’s to come, and what will be maintained. Check out the photos below of the scene at this morning’s ceremony. Are you excited for the new and improved Clifton’s?
Clifton’s is actually a really fond memory of downtown L.A. for me. I remember waking up on certain Saturdays or Sundays a little earlier than usual to take the trip to Clifton’s with my parents. We didn’t go out for breakfast often but Clifton’s was always near the top of the list when those mornings would come. It made me feel like an adult to grab a tray and walk through the line picking out what I wanted to have that morning. I’m glad to see the restoration in progress and I can’t wait until I get a chance to visit again. The experience will not be identical to my childhood experiences but nostalgia will undoubtedly sink in while I’m there.