Googie Posts

054. Lomo Featured Projects: Carson Plaza and Circus Do-nuts. Lomo Field Trip: Carson Street, Torrance.

One sunny morning in July, I took a lomo field trip down to Carson Street in Torrance, where a couple of projects had caught my eye previously on a quick drive-by. On route via Crenshaw Boulevard, I passed a couple of minor landmarks from the 1960s fast-food boom. This improbably well preserved Baskin-Robbins ice cream […] «Read more»

053. Matchbook Delight! Part 13, The Kettle.

This matchbook for The Kettle shows another nice utilization of two-color printing. Gradients were not an option and thus the print technology encourages a flattening aesthetic – in this case, a traditional iron kettle is abstracted into a skewed shape that brings to mind a fat, cute animal, just the kind one likes to eat. […] «Read more»

040. Lomo Featured Project: Henry’s Tacos, Studio City. Endangered Lomo.

Standing at the corner of Tujunga Avenue and Moorpark Street in Studio City/North Hollywood since 1961, Henry’s Tacos is a taco stand in the literal sense of the term – you conduct your transaction standing at a window. The tacos are “gringo” style. The crunchy taco shells are fried prior to filling, like the ones […] «Read more»

038. Lomo Featured Project: Dinah’s Family Restaurant, Westchester. Concluding the 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series with the “Zombie Googie” ride. Endangered Lomo.

After exhausting over the course of the year the better part of Los Angeles County’s Googie coffee shops still in operation, the 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series came to its logical conclusion on December 17th with the “Zombie Googie” ride, a tour of the extant remains of Googie coffee shops no longer in […] «Read more»

035. Lomo Featured Project: Rod’s Grill, Arcadia. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, November Ride.

Four hearty riders participated in the November edition of the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, traveling some 23 miles through damp and rain to visit Rod’s Grill, at 41 Huntington Drive in the city of Arcadia. Allegedly built in 1956, Rod’s Grill is a fine specimen of the Googie coffee shop and remains in […] «Read more»

032. Lomo Featured Projects: Cafetales formerly known as Sheri’s Restaurant, Inglewood, and Brolly Hut, Inglewood. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, October Ride.

The October installment of the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series was nominally destined for Cafetales, a Pupusería on La Brea Avenue in Inglewood, but the ride, relatively well attended with 11 riders, expanded into a miniature Tour of Inglewood. This city is a remarkable place for enthusiasts of the Modern. Much of the existing […] «Read more»

031. Lomo Featured Project: Rae’s Restaurant, Santa Monica. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, September Ride.

On the gloomy 24th day of September, four participants of the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series earned their stripes and cruised over to Rae’s Restaurant, at 2901 Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. A humble but righteous little shop, Rae’s was designed by A. L. Collins in the 1950s (1952 according to Googie Redux; 1953 […] «Read more»

028. Lomo Featured Project: Bob’s Big Boy Broiler formerly known as Harvey’s Broiler and as Johnie’s Broiler, Downey. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, August Ride.

The August installment of the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series paid a visit to Bob’s Big Boy in Downey. This location of Bob’s is both a heritage coffee shop and a brand new one, as it was reborn from the carcass of the mostly and illegally demolished Johnie’s Broiler, originally known as Harvey’s Broiler. […] «Read more»

026. Lomo Featured Project: Chip’s Coffee Shop, Hawthorne. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, July Ride.

The July edition of the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series took us straight down La Brea to Chip’s Coffee Shop in the city of Hawthorne. Chip’s was built in 1957 to a design by architect Harry Harrison, and aside from the addition of a patio at its south end, appears to be pretty close […] «Read more»

023. Lomo Featured Project: Bob’s Big Boy, Burbank. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, June Ride.

The destination for the June Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series was the Bob’s Big Boy restaurant on Riverside Drive in Burbank. The oldest remaining of the Big Boys, it is a fine specimen and nicely preserved. Designed in 1949 by Wayne McAllister, stylistically it is a bit of a hybrid between the “streamline moderne” […] «Read more»

020. Matchbook Delight! Part 5, Sambo’s Pancakes.

Though little remembered today, Sambo’s was a chain of coffee shops that rivaled Denny’s in ubiquity – there were 1,200 restaurants in 47 states as recently as 1979. The restaurants were named after its founders Sam and Bo, but their branding imagery derived from a turn-of-the-century children’s book called The Story of Little Black Sambo. […] «Read more»

019. Lomo Featured Project: Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard, formerly known as Kerry’s. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, May Ride.

At the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Kester Avenue in Sherman Oaks, Mel’s Drive-In (formerly known as Kerry’s) exhibits a striking profile. Having seen it on the street before I knew what it was, I took it at first for a retro reproduction of a Googie coffee shop, only discovering later that it was built […] «Read more»

016. Lomo Featured Project: Norm’s Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, April Ride.

Please pardon the last month’s unintended weblog hiatus. Carmen and I have been busy with the scramble of moving house, to another unit in the cozy Village Green, itself an interesting place but not quite Low enough nor quite Modern enough to be a suitable subject for the Lower Modernisms. Before the LoMos project can […] «Read more»

015. Lomo Featured Project: Astro Family Restaurant formerly known as “Donly’s” and “Conrad’s”. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, March Ride.

On March 26, seven enthusiasts participated in the third Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, riding the 11 miles from the Village Green to visit the Astro Family Restaurant at 2300 Fletcher Drive in Silver Lake. This coffee shop, formerly known as “Donly’s” and “Conrad’s”, was designed in 1958 by architects Armét and Davis. It […] «Read more»

013. Lomo Featured Project: La Villa Basque. Introducing Endangered Lomo.

La Villa Basque is a sprawler, comprising coffee shop, restaurant, bar, and banquet hall in one big boxy building. Named in honor of the Basque heritage of City of Vernon founding father John Leonis, La Villa Basque was built by his grandson, owner Leonis Malburg, next door to the Leonis Malburg Building at the corner […] «Read more»

012. Lomo Featured Project: Ben Franks aka Mel’s Drive-In. 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series, February Ride.

On February 19th, the second outing of our 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series took us to Mel’s Drive-In, formerly known as Ben Frank’s, at 8585 West Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Ben Frank’s was designed by architects Lane and Schlick and built in 1962. In form it follows neither […] «Read more»

008. Lomo Manifesto Part 2: Russ Holthouse on Popular Modernism.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post, continuing the dialog about the significance of the Lower Modernisms and contextualizing them as a subset of Popular Modernism, was contributed by Russ Holthouse. Russ is a Los Angeles-based architect, a fellow enthusiast and student of Modernism, and an old friend of mine. -JAB I think what you’ve described as “The […] «Read more»

006. Lomo Featured Project: Pann’s Coffee Shop. Introducing the 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series.

Kyle Pfister, Garrett Belmont and I, three bicycle-riding architects who live in the Village Green, have undertaken the 2011 Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series. Approximately one Saturday per month we will convene a bicycle ride originating at the Green and visiting one of the Southland’s remaining Googie coffee shops; ride distances may vary from […] «Read more»

005. Alan Hess, Champion of the Googie. Introducing: The Patron Saints of the Lower Modernisms.

The Patron Saints of the Lower Modernisms are those individuals who have lowered the bar for what qualifies for membership in the sanctified realm of Modernism proper, and thereby expanded the domain of what is considered Modernist. I praise them for their efforts and hope they can take such a characterization rightly as a compliment. […] «Read more»