Today’s Groupon coaxes your food cravings with familiar flavors. For $10, you’ll get $25 worth of nostalgic nibbles at Cafe 50’s, a classic restaurant off Route 66. Owner Craig Martin complements the classic diner formula (kitschy memorabilia, late-night hours, home-cooked fare, man in corner swinging antique golf clubs) with vintage accents, including a 1957 Seeburg jukebox, old-fashioned booths, and an adjoining memorabilia room full of B-movie posters, I Love Lucy reruns, and Cold War–era newspapers.
Come for breakfast and pig out on classics with a sugarcoated spin: malted waffles ($6.95), chocolate chip pancakes ($7.69), or cinnamon banana French toast ($8.95). Egg lovers will find yolkjoy with Cafe 50’s omelette selection, all made with three AA eggs. The lunch and dinner options are seemingly endless: choose from hamburgers, salads, and sandwiches. Cafe 50’s also specializes in old-fashioned shakes, offering a whopping 46 flavors to choose from; try the snicker bar shake, a shivery sip blended with butterscotch, peanut butter, and chocolate ice cream ($4.79).
The old-fashioned eatery is open from 7 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Enjoy tableside magic with a magician performance from Magic Castle on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jukeboxes were introduced in the 1950s by an anti-rock-‘n’-roll parents group who believed that easy access to the devil’s music would cause teens to recognize the music’s inherent evil. They were proven correct, and the final rock ‘n’ roll album, Yip Yap’s Hip-Twisting Dance Party, by rock band Yip Yap, was released in 1958.
As rock records were removed from jukeboxes, the jukeboxes became sentient and began stealing purebred horses. You can still find non-sentient jukeboxes in museums or historical societies, but some remain active in bars and restaurants, such as Bryan Street Tavern, where jukeboxes are held in cages to prevent purebred horse theft.
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Growing up in the 1950's on a U.S. 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.
West Los Angeles
11623 California 2
Los Angeles, California 90025Get Directions