Clifton’s Facelift Continues

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Dozens of Bringing Back Broadway supporters, politicians and tube sock shoppers huddled along Downtown’s legendary thoroughfare this morning to witness another milestone in the rebirth of the historic district. The metal façade that has entombed Clifton’s Cafeteria for 50 of it’s 77 years was cut away over the weekend and the Beaux-Arts / Brookdale fantasy Clifford Clinton created was revealed anew. Russ Rymer wrote a wonderful piece on the history of Clifton’s for Los Angeles in 2003. Read it here.  Owner Andrew Meieran and Councilman Jose Huizar gave the signal and three construction workers on the roof pulled back a giant tarp to dramatically reveal the original construction battered by the decades. Large sections of the original windows were filled in with cinder block during a 1980s earthquake retrofit. The project, which includes several bars, will be completed in phases over the next eighteen months. Clinton’s son Don and grandson Robert were among the celebrants that toasted the restoration and enjoyed a preview of the new Clifton’s menu. Old favorites like Mac and Cheese and red and green Jell-O returned, but were joined by some particularly delicious short ribs braised in Coca-Cola. Meieran called the Broadway and its revival “Organic and real and authentic,” praising the district’s walkability and scale. New projects have been announced that will bring restaurants including Figaro and Umami, an Ace Hotel, a streetcar and a department store to the street. We’re about to see a major change. On the terrazzo sidewalk outside of Clifton’s I spoke with Ed Rosenthal, the “Poet Broker” of downtown, who celebrated his sale of the building in 2010 with an ill-fated hike to Joshua Tree. “The last time I was here was right before I got lost.” Said the realtor; “I see it all in a whole new perspective.”