On Friday, Collectors Weekly published a long and fascinating article about Clifton's Cafeteria. The piece covers the history of Clifton's, as well as giving an update on the overhaul and restoration of Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria by developer Andrew Meieran. Among other things, it tells the story of original owner Clifford Clifton's dedication to feeding people who couldn't afford to eat, the sprawling dramatic fantasy restaurant he built (with a stream running through it!), and his fight against corruption that resulted in his house being bombed.
The article also has a number of photos and renderings of the interior of Clifton's Brookdale during its heyday, complete a dining room populated by giant redwood trees. It got us wondering if there were many menus from Clifton's housed in the Los Angeles Public Library's menu collection.
As it turns out, the LAPL has quite a few pieces of Clifton's ephemera, dating back to the 1930s. There's an amazing document that reads almost like a legal contract, which explains all of Clifton's policies and procedures. It's dated November 1937, and covers everything from the ambitious social aims of the restaurant to its “assets and liabilities.” We've posted the first page below, but you can read the entire thing here on the LAPL website. It's worth reading, and offers help with everything from a bad meal to what Clifton's might do to help if a customer is sick or lonely.
There's the cover of a keepsake from Clifton's from the '40s (above), a Clifton's pamphlet with recipes from the '80s, and a special menu from Clifton's Brookdale from the '90s. Enjoy.