Inside Theresa's Family Restaurant, time-swept black and white photos and tin signs line the walls, hearkening back to an earlier age in American dining. The menu, however, displays a 21st Century knack for incorporating international and health-conscious choices alongside tried-and-true classics. Breakfast items such as chorizo and eggs and huevos rancheros share space with vegetarian egg-white omelets and bowls of oatmeal with dried cranberries, diced apples, and brown sugar. Non-breakfast highlights include a variety of topped burgers, healthful salads, and sandwiches such as the Spark Street Club with turkey breast, shaved ham and bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
Today's Groupon gets you $22 worth of food, drinks, and people watching at Dukes West Hollywood for $10. If you've been to this Sunset Boulevard institution before, or if you're suffering from debilitating amnesia, it'll be your first time all over again because Top Design's Heather Ashton added a modern twist to the diner's gritty rock 'n' roll ambience. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
The French Quarter Restaurant has played host to an ample and eclectic variety of edibles during breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 35 years. Early eaters can peruse a morning menu of drinkable delights from bubbly mimosas ($6.95) to Apffels coffee ($2.50) before chowing on the layered flavors of the huevos rancheros ($10.50). The chicken-fried steak ($9.95) keeps an egg sidekick close by to fight off ravenous hunger and its arch-nemesis—beef-fried chicken. Bisect the day with bites from the extensive lunch menu, or skip straight to dinner for braised pot roast ($14.95) or four-cheese rainbow ravioli ($15.95). The French Quartet Restaurant also offers a bevy of drinks and desserts to sate arid palates and quiet spoiled sweet teeth.
In 1947, owners Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs assembled a staff of 14 carhops to serve passing motorists at the first Mel's Drive-In. For the next two decades, customers partial to automobile dining flocked to the chain’s 11 California locations, eager to wash down grass-fed half-pound burgers with thick milk shakes. As fast-food outlets outpaced the drive-in's once-speedy service, its popularity declined, and it was eventually scheduled for demolition. The building got a temporary reprieve, however, when filmmaker George Lucas decided to use the drive-in's original location on Lombard Street as the colorful backdrop for his film American Graffiti. As bulldozers destroyed the last remnants of the historic drive-in, American Graffiti opened in theaters.
A decade later, though, Mel's son Steven reopened Mel's Drive-In in an attempt to carry on his father's dream. Steven restored the drive-in's multiple locations to mirror their original motif by stocking each with midcentury must-haves such as illuminated marquees, jukeboxes, and Elvis-themed WiFi passwords. The drive-in’s menu, meanwhile, balances period-appropriate fare, such as hot dogs and burgers, with healthy options, such as the Haven’s Famous vegetarian sandwich, two slices of nine-grain bread topped with avocado, sprouts, and tomatoes.
Cafe 50's cultivates a healthy nostalgia for the era of Elvis tunes and poodle skirts with an all-American diner menu. Past a retro jukebox, a long line of round barstools awaits freshly grilled Angus beef burgers and gooey cheese melts complemented by classic soda-fountain shakes and malts. The burger joint also whips up all-day breakfasts of fruity pancakes and veggie-heavy omelets to confuse recently arrived time travelers. Free WiFi entertains munchers, and modish neon signs shine on both indoor booths and outdoor patio tables.
Food and nostalgia are synonymous at Dinah's Family Restaurant. Whether it's oven-baked apple pancakes, saucy ribs, or the restaurant's signature pineapple coleslaw, Dinah's team has made everything look?and taste?warmly familiar since 1959. Even the decor has barely changed since then. Its long marble bar, red-backed booths, and a retro-Sixties facade would not look out of place as an establishing shot in a Mad Men episode.
The real star at Dinah's has also stayed the same since day one: the fried chicken. In the decades since they debuted their fried chicken bucket, the cooks at Dinah's have spiced, breaded, and fried its poultry pieces for some 20 million customers?all the more impressive considering only 500 people lived on Earth in the 1960s.