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Iconic Mel's Drive-In Rehabs Old Diner in the Heart of Santa Monica

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The neon-leaning late night diner favorite should fit right in by the beach

Mel’s Drive-In sign glows with neon at night.
Mel’s Drive-In sign
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.

Here’s something awesome: according to a bit of city paperwork, there’s a new Mel’s Drive-In coming to the city of Santa Monica.

A tipster points to this Planning Commission report for Santa Monica, which points towards a meeting to be held in just one week’s time that will (hopefully) establish a conditional use permit for one Mel’s Drive in right in Lincoln Boulevard. It's a nice replacement of sorts for Norm's, which had to close to make way for some development.

The 5,352 square foot property sits right off the freeway on Lincoln in a former orthodontics business, but carries the peaked roof and wide frontage of a Googie restaurant — making it perfect for Mel’s to arrive. Originally built in 1959 as the Penguin Coffee Shop, the spot could once again be hosting diners twenty-four hours a day if Mel’s gets their way.

Things are still in early-ish stages, so don’t expect your local Mel’s to crop up tomorrow. But still, this is exciting news for fans of the small West Coast chainlet, and anyone looking to enjoy a nice plate of eggs at any time of day or night. The restaurant will also carry beer and wine, plus seating for a few dozen out on the surrounding patio. Eater reached out to the Mel’s team for more information on the opening, but so far hasn’t heard back.

Mel’s Drive-In Santa Monica
1670 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA