The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been working to bring new life to fading Main Streets across the country for 40 years. To mark the anniversary they awarded $1.5 million in restoration funds through an online contest that sent vintage-loving Angelenos to their keyboards. The Formosa Café, acquired earlier this year by the 1933 Group, has won $150,000 to be used for the restoration of the century-old streetcar attached to the historic restaurant located on Route 66 in West Hollywood. “We are completely honored and humbled,” said 1933 Group’s co-owner Dimitri Komarov.
Other projects to be completed with the American Express-funded grants include a vintage neon sign park in Casa Grande, Ariz., and a historic meeting hall in Germantown, Pa.
Longtime patrons were incensed when a new operator gutted the interior of the historic restaurant in 2015. The 1933 Group, which has restored the Highland Park Bowl and the Idle Hour in North Hollywood, have acquired much of the original interior décor and are planning to bring back the character of the celebrity favorite restaurant seen in films like L.A. Confidential.
“Local pride generated nearly 60,000 votes for the Formosa,” says Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, which administered the project. “We’re excited to bring significant funding to a local preservation project, and we look forward to celebrating at the Formosa when it opens next year.”