It’s been a neighborhood hangout for 50 years, and on Tues., Feb. 11 the Casado family, owners of Lucy’s El Adobe at 5536 Melrose Ave., will host a benefit for St. Vincent Meals on Wheels to celebrate the milestone. Two days later, the restaurant is holding a fundraiser for Sister Servants of Mary. In May, the National Kidney Foundation will benefit from a fundraiser with George Lopez as host.
Community service has always been part of the Casado’s agenda. Fundraisers have benefited the Spastic Children’s Foundation, Griffith Observatory, political candidates and many others.
One glance at the Adobe’s photograph-laden wall and you will spot its Hollywood and political connection. If there were a guest book, signatures of Hancock Park dads and moms also would be prominent. With KTLA, Desilu and Paramount studios just across the street, Lucy Casado and her late husband Frank decided to open an eatery.
One of the founders of the Mexican American Political Assoc., Frank frequently hosted meetings at the restaurant, and Democratic office-seekers from Tom Bradley to Hubert Humphrey dined at the restaurant (even a few Republicans). Lucy’s offered the maternal side to the many wannabe’s who ate here.
The future Gov. Brown was a candidate for the Los Angeles Community College District when he started eating at Lucy’s. Their successes coincided, and Jerry Brown seldom misses a meal at El Adobe when he is in town.
The Casados have been “adoptive parents” to many songwriters, singers and actors. Don Henley worked across the street and often dined here; Jimmy Webb loved chatting with Lucy as did Jerry Brown who first spotted Linda Ronstadt here. The Eagles started out as Linda’s backup band, and Lucy is sure to attend their concerts when they are in town.
Frank died of cancer at age 66 in 1990. In a tribute to the Casados, Jimmy Webb donated a baby grand piano that decorates one of the several rooms added on during the 50 years. The owners had staked him to two years of free meals until he hit it big. “They knew he would,” said Lucy’s daughter Patricia.
Lucy and Patricia, who started work at the restaurant when she was 13, are carrying on, while longtime employees like bartender/waiter Ricardo Arias (45 years) contribute to the family atmosphere. Son Jimmy has expanded Lucy’s, adding the outdoor bar and a second floor. A second son, Darryl, is disabled and lives with Lucy in her Wilshire Park home.
Councilman Tom LaBonge named an area on Melrose “I Love Lucy” square, an honor she shares with Lucille Ball.
For information on the Meals on Wheels benefit, call Bing Lacson, 213-484-7327 or email email@example.com