The “Back Room” as it was called at Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, shuttered more than 50 years ago, but proprietors of a bus tour company are trying to keep the memory alive and well. Beginning January 23, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, co-owners of Esotouric who take guests on literary and architectural tours around L.A., will stage the first of a regular series of three-course prix-fixe dinners that will bring together literary professionals for discussion and dinner. The famed “Back Room” at Musso & Frank welcomed writers such as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Raymond Chandler six nights per week for 20 years before the Vogue Theater reclaimed the space in 1954. Earlier this year, a nightclub separate from Musso & Frank called The Writers Room moved into the original Back Room, serving fancy cocktails to a celebrity-packed crowd. Perhaps this is Musso’s way of getting its legacy back.
The debut dinner and salon at Musso & Frank will feature poet and playwright Dan Fante discussing his memoir, Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving. His parents were regulars in the restaurant’s celebrated room. Hollywood historian Philip Mershon (proprietor of The Felix in Hollywood Tour Co.) will also be on-hand to chat before and after dinner. Cooper (founder of the crime blog 1947project) and Schave have been holding similar dinners for the past 20 months at Clifton’s Cafeteria.
Musso’s staff is finalizing the evening’s classic menu, but count on soup or salad, choice of a meat, seafood, or vegetarian entree, and one or two desserts. Seating is limited. You can book your spot ($100) by calling Musso & Frank at 323-467-7788 or dropping by the restaurant from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The event runs from 6 to 11 p.m. January 23. The next shindig will be held in April, and expect four more dinners of this type per year!
Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90028
Photo courtesy: TJSD2007 via Flickr Creative Commons