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Downtown LA’s Historic Cafeteria and Bar Space Clifton’s to Reopen Soon

Plus, a new Zankou Chicken and the Apple Pan brings back late night dining

People stand scattered on a busy downtown sidewalk in front of a tall historic brown building.
Clifton’s Republic in Downtown.
Wonho Frank Lee

Clfton’s, the historic Downtown cafeteria, restaurant, and bar property, is set to reopen — at least in part — this October, reports the Los Angeles Times. Owner Andrew Meieran (the Edison) spent years remaking the entire Broadway building after buying the business from the original family back in 2010, pouring millions into a deep renovation of the entire building. While the bars and ballroom spaces have proved popular, the cafeteria struggled along before closing again back in 2018.

More recently the property has been shuttered for the duration of the pandemic, but now Meieran says that several aspects of the hospitality complex will likely return in mid-October. That includes the Pacific Seas tiki bar on the fourth floor and the Monarch Bar on the second floor. The cafeteria itself will take more time, in part because the ongoing pandemic makes the high-volume, fully enclosed space a challenge.

Now known as Clifton’s Republic, the multi-story property at 648 S. Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles has undergone a tidal wave of changes in the past decade-plus. At its post-Depression height, the cafeteria’s whimsical faux woodsy dining room was capable of feeding up to 10,000 people per day, but in recent decades the property had fallen on harder times, in part because of lower foot traffic and slowed sales. Meieran tells the Times that he still plans to return the property to its rightful glory, though he admits that managing expectations and changing some things permanently is a part of the historic preservation game, even if it rankles a few fans. “You’re competing with people’s memories,” Meieran tells the Times.

In other news:

  • Zankou Chicken, one of LA’s most beloved restaurant institutions, has opened in Downtown at 611 W. 7th Street, marking the 11th location for the popular local company.
  • Chef Ramon Bojorquez (formerly of Bar Restaurant, Trois Mec, and elsewhere) has been tapped to lead the upcoming Lumière restaurant at the Fairmont Century Plaza. The property has undergone a years-long remodel and is now readying for a big fall reveal.
  • Dine Alhambra Restaurant Week returns soon, running from September 24 to October 1 in the San Gabriel Valley. Some restaurants are still being shored up for participation, but expect deals from plenty of popular spots ranging from shabu shabu to Indian to Italian.
  • The Apple Pan is returning to late-night hours starting tonight, meaning 11 p.m. most nights and midnight on Friday and Saturday (closed Mondays). Indoor and outdoor seating is still available.
  • There’s a monthly jazz cover series happening at the new Bar Lis at 1541 Wilcox Avenue. This month’s event, which goes down on Wednesday, September 8 at 9 p.m., will feature covers of Radiohead.
  • Need a place to score some Jewish deli food for Yom Kippur? The new Wise Sons in Culver City has all the catering covered for those looking to break the fast with robust bagel spreads.
  • Pirate-y themed bar and restaurant the Burbank Pub is turning two years young this month, and there are deals to be had for those willing to dress up.

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