Growing up in the 1950's on a military base in Germany, Craig Martin spent his evenings curled up next to the radio trying to sneak in rock 'n' roll music and midnight broadcasts of The Wolfman Jack Show. Nostalgic for the decade that he was born in but didn't quite get to experience, Martin built Cafe 50's, packing the walls with memorabilia and serving 1950s-style American food. Noted in the Zagat guide for being child-friendly and mentioned in L.A. Parent Magazine on 2009's Best of Breakfast, Lunch, and Treats lists, Cafe 50's two Los Angeles locations cater to both children and children-at-heart, with staff members giving each child complimentary balloons and hosting magic shows every weekend.
While children enjoy the magic tricks, adults make entrees disappear from plates, such as the breakfast burger crowned with jack cheese, bacon, and a sunny-side-up egg tied to a never-ending string of handkerchiefs. The staff of tennis-shoe-clad servers dressed in crisp red and white 50s-style uniforms replenishes emptying milkshake glasses with one of 42 deluxe milkshake flavors from the fountain. They dress up the ice cream or nonfat yogurt bases with house-made fudge brownies or nonfat granola and fresh banana slices.
The staff pours out shakes and cocktails, which servers bring to vintage booths. A 1957 Seeburg jukebox pours a selection of rock 'n' roll songs out over those vintage booths, and black and white movie-star photos dot the walls alongside vintage Coca-Cola signs. To further augment the atmosphere, a 1955 television airs episodes of I Love Lucy while a cigarette machine dispenses candy, which can be cooked with an ordinary cigarette lighter.