Is Eating at the L.A. Police Academy Diner a Political Act?
Sean J O'Connell
The beloved Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club Cafe reopened this week after a nearly three-year closure and remodel. The throwback diner offers a weekday breakfast and lunch menu with crowd-pleasing dishes such as waffles, eggs and potatoes, and club sandwiches.
A few things set this particular diner apart from others in this kitsch-loving city. It is located in Elysian Park, which is otherwise bereft of full-service restaurants open to the public. It is adjacent to a man-made grotto that ecologically makes no sense (tropical and alpine trees living together!) but is culturally harmonious to the town that brought us Clifton's and Disney; in fact, it is an official Cultural Heritage Monument. And the restaurant shares the grounds with LAPD's practice firing range.
In a vacuum, that last tidbit is kind of funny. But we exist on this complex planet, so the cafe's reopening isn't just workaday restaurant news. People are so politically aware these days that spending your breakfast dollars at a restaurant that expressly supports the police might, for some, be untenable.
The Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club was formed in 1925 as a privately run but LAPD-affiliated organization. It provided the first police officer training in L.A., and is still one of the homes of the Police Academy, in which new officer hires are automatically enrolled. (They're paid a salary while in training.) LAPRAAC is also a social club; the cafe is open to the public but, as makes sense, most diners there are LAPD.
So, no, the cafe is not directly a money-maker for LAPD, but profits do benefit the LAPRAAC. The restaurant is also a delight for city history buffs, as it is a sort of accidental museum, full of photos and city memorabilia dating back about 100 years.
Does any of this matter when all you're looking for is a cup of joe and some crispy bacon? Thank goodness we can all make that decision for ourselves. But it is pretty funny that you can buy a gun next door after breakfast.
1880 Academy Drive, Elysian Park. (323) 221-5222, lapraac.org.
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