Local favorite restaurants brought back to life in new exhibit

| June 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Hollywood Heritage Museum’s newest exhibit, “Out With the Stars,” opens Mon., June 29.

A VINTAGE kids’ menu from the Pig and Whistle is a great example of what things cost in years past.
Photos courtesy of the Hollywood Heritage Museum

The exhibit includes vintage menus, uniforms, historic signs, photos and décor from restaurants and hangouts frequented by classic Hollywood stars and Larchmont Chronicle readers. “We wanted to show Hollywood haunts — places you would’ve gone back in the day,” said Darin Barnes, museum co-curator.

Many of the establishments of the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, which are highlighted by the museum, have long since closed. However, El Cholo, which was founded in 1923, is still going strong. The exhibit features an old neon sign from the restaurant.

Memorabilia from the Brown Derby, the Cocoanut Grove and the Ambassador Hotel are combined in one area, and the museum even managed to find and display a uniform worn by the hotel’s front-of-house person and two elevator operator uniforms worn by women working at the hotel — most likely during World War II.

Tiki-related restaurant ephemera, including items from Trader Vic’s and the Pirate’s Den are in an area adorned with tiki lights, and local favorite Don the Beachcomber is not overlooked. The main gallery features a tribute to the restaurant Hollywood Canteen.

AN ADVERTISEMENT for Ciro’s is part of the museum’s display.

“We think we came across the single largest collection of Hollywood Canteen memorabilia. It has never before been displayed,” said Barnes. The curator told us that museum-goers will see wristbands, paper cups, cigarettes, photos and ashtrays among thousands of pieces.

During these classic Hollywood decades, locals would go to the Brown Derby to dine, but also for a chance to see stars. The Brown Derby’s original location was on Wilshire, but there was also one on Vine Street, just south of Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood Heritage’s exhibit includes the sign from the Brown Derby Coffee Shop, which adjoined the Vine Street restaurant.

“Come and revisit your past a bit! You’ll see the plates you and the celebrities would’ve eaten off of,” said Barnes. A score of restaurants, bars and hotels are included in the exhibit, and the vintage memorabilia will whisk visitors back to this classic time of our city’s history.

For more information, visit hollywoodheritage.org. Hollywood Heritage Museum is at 2100 Highland Ave., right across Highland Ave. from the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.

WAITERS are pictured ready to carry food out to diners at the Hollywood Canteen.

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Category: Entertainment

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