Video Village With Ask Chris: Excavating the Dutch Chocolate Shop

600

The Los Angeles Visionaries Association recently hosted a visit to the former Dutch Chocolate Shop in Downtown Los Angeles. The space (with its prominent “NO PICTURES” sign) is covered with an extraordinary collection of tile designed by Ernest Batchelder in 1914. The brown bonanza depicts scenes from Holland including some amazing figural pieces like these. This room was operated for more than 60 years as Finney’s Cafeteria, but when that restaurant closed in 1986 the space became home to a parade of swap meet vendors who obscured the walls with layers of posters, shelving and the detritus of 25 years of tube socks and knockoff cologne. A newly begun renovation will transform the space, inside the Broadway Spring Arcade Building, back into a European-style confectionary. Tile historian Brian Kaiser compared the space to King Tut’s tomb, before explaining the origin and the restoration techniques.