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Googie Landmark Johnie's Coffee Shop Lives on in the Movies

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The blue and white building on Wilshire is still famous on the silver screen.

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Classics Week Mini LogoWelcome to Googie A Day, a Classics Week series that chronicles some of the most beautiful diners in Los Angeles that maintain the futuristic (at the time) ethos of Googie. Think the Theme Building at LAX, basically a mesh of the Jetson's and Pulp Fiction. Diners are LA's timeless restaurant style, one that continues to go strong despite an increasing emphasis toward either healthy or seasonal cooking. Up today, the now-long lost Johnie's Coffee Shop on Wilshire.

There’s been plenty of will-they-won’t-they when it comes to the possibility of tearing down the shuttered Johnie’s Coffee Shop on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax. For now, the location’s safety seems relatively secure, given its designation as a local landmark, thanks to a 2013 ruling. That’s good news for the city, which over the years has fallen in love with the blue and white facade.

Originally opened in 1956, Johnie’s is the work of hardcore Googie heads Louis Armét and Eldon Davis, who also designed Pann’s and Norm’s in the same era. For two generations, Johnie’s stood as a coffee shop symbol for the city, a remaining vestige of cheap coffee and Formica counter tops. In 1994, the building was purchased by the family behind the 99 Cent Store chain, and in 2000 the shop was shuttered to customers.

Still, the largely intact interior acts as a backdrop for plenty of films and television shows, from The Big Lebowski to Reservoir Dogs, which means we can all enjoy Johnie’s a little bit every time we turn on the TV.

Johnie's Coffee Shop

6101 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 938-3521