Clifton's Cafeteria, once part of a chain of 8 Clifton's restaurants, is the oldest surviving cafeteria style eatery in Los Angeles, California, and the largest public cafeteria in the world. Founded in 1931 by Clifford Clinton, the name was created by combining "Clifford" and "Clinton" to produce "Clifton's". The design of the restaurants included exotic decor and facades that were "kitschy and theatrical".
The second Clifton's facility opened in 1935. In 1939 its name was changed to "Clifton's Brookdale", and as the sole survivor of the multiple branches over 79 years, it is now known as "Clifton's Cafeteria" or more familiarly simply as "Clifton's". Located at 648 S Broadway near Los Angeles' downtown theater district, it has remained in operation for 74 years.
The restaurant chain was noted for each facility having its own theme, and for aiding those who could not afford to pay. This approach to business reflected the owner's Christian ethos—he never turned anyone away hungry and maintained a precedent set by the first restaurant on Olive Street, known as "Clifton's Golden Rule".
In 1946, Clifford and his wife Nelda sold their cafeteria interests to their three younger Clinton children, and retired to devote their attentions to a Meals for Millions, a non-profit charitable organization he founded in the wake of World War II to distribute food to millions of starving and malnourished people throughout the world.
Clifton's Brookdale was sold to nightclub operator Andrew Meieran on September 21, 2010. Meieran stated that he intended renovations that would preserve the food and unique atmosphere of the establishment, and that they were re-introducing some of the restaurant's 1950-style recipes. During the first phase of planned renovations in 2011, the cafeteria closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the summer, but remained open other days. In September 2011, the cafeteria began its second phase of renovations and closed for an expected three-to-six month, $3-million rehabilatation, in preparation for a 2012 re-opening. The bakery remained open for a time during the restaurant closure. In February 2012 Meieran said the remodeling was expected to continue for another 18 months. Clifton's Brookdale reopened October 1, 2015.(Wikipedia)