When friends and family were asking what my blog post was going to be about this week, I told them that it was going to be about the newly renovated and re-opened Clifton’s in DTLA. It seemed that everyone had a story to tell about it. I was surprised because I grew up in the suburbs outside of DTLA but friends my age told me that their parents and family older than them would frequent Clifton’s in their younger years. Even my Mom and a few aunts told me that they would also go there when they were younger and attending High School in Los Angeles. I knew that Clifton’s had been open for quite a long time but once I discovered that it has been around since 1932, it was no wonder so many Angelenos have fond memories and stories to tell about this interesting cafeteria.
Clifton’s was recently re-opened about a month ago after a long 4 year restoration period. Andrew Meieran the genius behind The Edison, is the new mastermind behind the amazingly renovated Clifton’s. Reading and hearing around town that the lines at Clifton’s are incredibly long on the weekends, I decided that I would attempt dinner on a weeknight instead of lunch or dinner on a Saturday or Sunday. I was able to convince my friend to join me on a Thursday night even though she was quite concerned once I said the word “Cafeteria.” Thank goodness she trusts me because we were both pleasantly surprised!
We arrived at Clifton’s at around 6:00 p.m. and it was dead. We were directed by a greeter to head to the cafeteria area and there was absolutely no wait. We grabbed our trays and utensils and perused around all of the different food stations. They had a station for salads and soups, a carving station with different types of meat like turkey, roast beef and ham. Another area for sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing and mac and cheese. There is also a station that features all vegan foods and another station that features sandwiches. Lastly, there is a dessert area that has things like cake and tiramisu and jell-o. Once you are done selecting everything that you want, you head to registers in order for your total to be calculated. Your choice of a protein (turkey, roast beef or ham) at the carving station with 2 sides is around $12.00 but if you add a small salad and a slice of carrot cake like I did, expect to pay about $20.00 for your meal, without a drink. There are canned beers available for purchase in the cafeteria area but we decided to hold off because we wanted to get draft beer. With no wait, we were in and out of cafeteria area in less than 10 minutes.
We walked up to the 2nd floor, trays in hand, in order to find seating and grab a drink. Be advised that all 3 floors open have tables for you to eat at. We didn’t realize that at first so, that is why we stayed at the 2nd floor to eat. Anyhow, we grabbed an IPA and paid around $7.00 each. I was expecting for Clifton’s to have some type of Happy Hour menu but they didn’t. Hopefully that will change soon. *fingers crossed*
We sat down at a table next to the giant faux redwood tree that stretches above numerous floors of the building. Speaking of trees, there are trees painted all over the walls and pretty much everything is made of wood, from the lounge chairs to the bar tops. And don’t be surprised if you end up sitting next to woodland creatures. There are taxidermy animals everywhere, including a huge 9 foot bison.
Last but not least, we had a few cocktails at the Gothic Bar on the 3rd floor. I ordered an Electric Sheep which was a mix of vodka, apple brandy, lemon juice and prosecco and it was to die for. Cocktails are in the $13-$14 range so be prepared for a hefty bar tab at the end of your night.
I feel like the newly renovated and re-opened Clifton’s something that you have to try at least once because of its rich history and its numerous antiquities. This would also be a really interesting place to bring friends from out of town. If you do get a chance to make it out to Clifton’s, have fun exploring this new DTLA hotspot and let me know what you found most interesting during your visit. For more information about Clifton’s check out their website: http://www.cliftonsla.com/ and/or follow them on Instagram @cliftonsla and while you’re at it, follow me, too @queenofsmarts. Thanks for reading! Until next time…