Clifton’s Brookdale (now known as “Clifton’s Cafeteria” or simply “Clifton’s) reopened last October after being closed for three years to undergo a massive interior renovation. Andrew Meieran, Clifton’s new owner, sought to keep the original Clifton’s unique forest-like atmosphere, as well the restaurant’s 1950-style recipes (think meatloaf, Salisbury steak, house-smoked turkey, Jell-O parfait, chocolate cakes), all while upgrading the menu items and food stations to cater to the ever changing clientele of today (think pizzas and chicken tenders for kids, or having several cocktail bars on each floor for the adults).
Original owner Clifford Clinton would be have been pleased to see that the retro kitsch style of the Cafeteria’s original rustic woodland decor, a three-story redwood tree replica shooting up through the middle of the establishment, and the presence of a few taxidermy animals remained for new generations to experience.
If one desired to take a “taste of the past” home, one can find many small retro-style candies and other 1950s-inspired household wares, all conveniently located in the restaurant’s gift shop, for purchase.
I, myself, have always wanted to visit Clifton’s after its reopening, so I waited until the kids were on summer vacation so that we could make a day trip out of this excursion.
My daughter was surprised to find this taxidermy display within the nooks and crannies of the gift shop. “Is he alive? Is he real? Why is he still looking at me?” she wondered.
We moved onto the cafeteria portion of the restaurant. Check out this beautiful presentation of the Dessert Table.
I especially loved the retro elements of the interior decor.
The many meal choices that were offered paled in comparison to the whiff of what I assumed to be deliciously prepared dishes that I could not possibly eat in one sitting. Finally, the kids opted for burgers and chicken fingers while I splurged on a fancy four-cheese spinach pizza.
Our family’s shopping experience at Clifton’s was awesome.
The dining? Not so much.
We unfortunately had to leave Clifton’s because my son had an allergic reaction to the Kids Burger after only taking one bite. The Restaurant Manager was very helpful in getting the first responders to the establishment to transport us for immediate medical care. The fine folks at Clifton’s have since been very helpful and kind in catering to our requests to get to the bottom of what could have triggered an allergic reaction.
We subsequently learned from our pediatrician that in addition to being allergic to peanuts, he may also be allergic to sunflower seeds, a few of which were garnished atop of his hamburger bun.
The jury is still out on the severity of his sensitivity to sunflower seeds, but in the meantime, there will be no sunflower seeds for him! Here he is making light of the bad situation during a recent visit to the Arts District.
While we initially enjoyed our visit to Clifton’s Cafeteria, it has been agreed by all that we won’t be dining there as a family any time soon.
One day, though I’ll be back, hopefully to create more positive memories of this fine Los Angeles establishment.
I do hope everyone else who patrons Clifton’s Cafeteria enjoys their dining experience. It really is a cool place to visit.
648 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014
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