Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pann’s - Los Angeles (Inglewood)

Pann's is a diner style restaurant considered an institution in Los Angeles, California, for its history, role in movies, and distinctive architecture. It opened in 1958 by George and Rena Panagopoulos, and is known for its neon sign, googie architecture, and 1950s decor.

It is located at the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and La Tijera Boulevard in Inglewood, California. Like many diners it serves breakfast all day and night. The restaurant also serves "blue-plate specials," complete meals that vary daily.

Pann's includes an angular edifice and large plate glass windows and has been described as having "the classic coffee shop architecture". It was designed by Armet & Davis, who also designed the Hollywood Bowl and the original Norms Restaurant.

Here is a sample of the “googie” used in the address numbers and the door handle.

Tropical landscaping was included in the design.

The stonework and the space age roof lines almost make the restaurant a meeting of the Flintstones and the Jetsons.

It is also known as "the Frank Lloyd Wright of '50s coffee shops. Even the ventilation system was incorporated into the architectural design.

Pann's was featured in a story in the Los Angeles Times, "Going on a hunt for Googie architecture," which noted the restaurant's tilted roof and sign, tropical plants and exposed stone walls indoors and out, and glass windows wrapping around the restaurant. Pann's celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.

However, not all of the past 50's years have been smooth sailing for this futuristic coffee shop. In the early 1990's, the restaurant was in danger of being demolished and rebuilt beyond recognition. At this point, the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee got involved and worked collaboratively with Pann's second generation owner Jim Poulos towards a plan restoring Pann's to its former glory.

Also recently, Pann’s was featured in a local Los Angeles television show called “Cheap Eats.” Be warned, there are a lot of breakfast meats shown on this video.

For those interested in visiting, Pann’s, it is located on 6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA‎. (323) 776-3770‎

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Norm’s – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)

Norms Restaurants is a chain of diner-style coffee shops in Southern California. The chain was founded in 1949 by Norman Roybark. The first restaurant was located at Sunset Blvd. at Morningside in Hollywood. Norm's already had nine locations in 1962. There are currently 17 locations in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.

The first Norms opened on La Cienega Boulevard in 1957 featuring a distinctive angular and brightly colored style that came to be known as Googie architecture. Key characteristics include concrete walls, large glass windows, jutting roof, and a neon marquee. The first Norms restaurant was designed by the architecture firm of Armet & Davis.

Here is a close up on the cool sign.

The interior of Norms Restaurant is still interesting and wisely the sprucing up they have done is with Mid-Century Modern fixtures. Located in a congested area of town, but it has its own free parking, which is a big plus. Many Norms now have given up all traces of the great Googie signs that this place still has.

For those interested in visiting the original Norm’s, it is located on 470 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. (310) 657-8333

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bob’s Big Boy – Toluca Lake, California

Big Boy is a restaurant chain started in 1936 by Bob Wian, in partnership with Arnold Peterson in Glendale, California. The chain is best known for its trademark chubby boy in red-and-white-checked overalls holding a Big Boy sandwich (double-decker cheeseburger).

The inspiration for Big Boy's name, as well as the model for its mascot, was Richard Woodruff (1936-1986), of Glendale, California. When he was six years old, he walked into the diner Bob's Pantry as Bob Wian was attempting to name his new hamburger. Wian said, "Hello, Big Boy" to Woodruff, and the name stuck.

The Toluca Lake location was built in 1949, and is the oldest remaining Bob's Big Boy in America. It was designed by respected architect Wayne McAllister, incorporating the 1940's transitional design of streamline modern style while anticipating the free-form 50's coffee shop architecture. The towering BOB's sign is an integral part of the building design and its most prominent feature.

Here is a shot of the towering Bob's sign at night. You can see it for several blocks away on Riverside Drive

The restaurant was honored in 1993, receiving the designation as a "State Point of Historical Interest" by the state of California. The current owner (the MacDonald Family) acquired control of the restaurant in 1993 and began to restore it to its past glory.

Here are some close up shots featuring the unique door handles with the “B” script, as well as the "Coffee Shop" sign over the outdoor seating area

For those interested in visiting, the original Bob’s Big Boy, it is located at 4211 W Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505-4146. (818) 843-9334