Ever since I was a child, as I'd watch my favorite show Happy Days or the movie Grease I always wanted to live in an era of early Rock-N-Roll, drive-in theaters, classic cars, sock hops and burger joints and diners. Where Seeburg M100C jukeboxes play 45 rpm records, and cute girls wear poodle skirts with saddle shoes and pony tails, while boys would wear flannel shirts, school cardigans with flat tops and crew cuts.
It was a time of the whoslesome "All-American" family, Dick Clark's American Bandstand and teenagers either playing frisbie, hula hoops or identifying themselves with great icon James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Whatever the case, it was a memorable era of American history and burgers, fries and milkshakes were a staple diet.
So let's take a trip down memory lane to the recently opened Cafe 50's, a cafe/diner located on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. It's a complete throwback to that old 50's era. As soon as walking in, as cliche'ish as it sounds, you will feel like you just warped back in time through a time machine.
Even before stepping in you can not help but notice the memorabilia from the 50's such as: old vintage, rare movie posters, vintage albums and old soda-pop and cigarette signs that are plastered throughout and decorate the walls. There are gumball machines, a postcard and comic book rack, and a vintage jukebox that plays pure 50s Rock-N-Roll.
|Set of Girl Pin-Up Posters and Postcards|
|Postcard and Comic Book Rack|
We were greeted and seated by the lovely and jovial Ana and almost immediately, she recommended one of their 42 shakes! 42 shakes?!!!! We were stunned and the number of shakes and most definitely had to try one. After nearly 5 minutes deciding, we ordered their Key Lime Pie Shake. I would have ordered myself a shake like their Snicker Bar Shake or their Elvis Presley or their Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake or their Root Beer Freeze Shake or the S'more Shake...(a S'more Shake??) or their Butterfinger Shake or even their Breakfast Shake....or or or...oh man - I had to maintain my appetite in check so I resisted temptation and just ordered me a classic Cherry Coke.
|Key Lime Pie Shake - one of their 42 deluxe milkshakes -|
The shake was nice and smooth and very creamy. Not too sweet and enough nutmeg to add some nice spice to it. It was definitely like drinking a liquidfied Key Lime Pie...so good. Shakes are $4.49
Anyhow - Their menu is huge and even before arriving to the cafe, I had my mind set on either some garlic cheddar cheese fries or their gravy fries. So even without looking at the menu, and all agreed, we went on and ordered the garlic cheddar cheese fries.
|Garlic Cheddar Cheese Fries|
The order is a heaping serving of golden brown, thin, crispy fries smothered under melted cheddar cheese and small chunks of garlic, topped with parsley. The garlic was the right amount, not overwhelming like in garlic fries I have had before, which I personally don't mind, but these fries had the right amount of seasoning and garlic that kept me wanting more. All this for $6.95.
While we ate our fries, Craig, the owner, walks on over to our table with a plate of Southern Fried Macaroni and Cheese. Strange triangular shaped breaded looking tid bits. I was like..."what can this possibly taste like?" My first bite was a crunchy cheesy delight. Never have I ever imagined breaded mac n' cheese anything. They are served with ranch dressing and some veggies and fruit...so far two side favorites on my list.
|Southern Fried Mac N Cheese Bites|
On to our main meal. Albeit I am a breakfast all day kinda of person and granted, they do serve breakfast all day, I had to stick to traditions and order me a burger. Most of us ordered burgers with the exception of one of my counterparts. I ordered the Bacon and Blue Cheese Burger with grilled onions.
|The Bacon and Blue Cheese Burger with grilled onions|
I have been on a crazy Bleu Cheese Burger trip lately. I really enjoy the saltiness and kick bleu cheese brings to any burger.
The Cafe 50's burger is served with a side of cole slaw that is nicely sweetened and not too mayonaisey. It isn't either runny like most cole slaws I normally have at diners or have had period. I was ready for my first bite.
The burger meat tasted fresh and juicy while the veggies were fresh and crispy as well. The blue cheese, as anticipated, added that right amount of kick that just complimented the slight sweet apple smoked bacon on my burger.
The burger was definitely a handful.
|The Cheese Burger with avocado|
As we all quietly ate away, with hardly any conversation, Craig came on over and brought us over some samples. Their turkey chili, albondiga soup that is made daily and made from scratch and some of their New England Chowder.
The turkey chili was not greasy and not heavy at all. The clam chowder was creamy and thick with a not so clammy taste. And the albondiga soup was hefty too.
It was time for dessert and Ana recommended one of their sundaes....sundaes?...mmmmm....okay - so as we all were going back and forth between their banana split or their strawberry sundae or their black and tan, Ana, just standing there watching us debate was like. "You should try our pineapple sundae". Inside of me, being that pineapple is my favorite fruit, was crying. "Everyone please say yes" and lo and behold - we all agreed and I yelled out "yes!"
She smiled and shortly after, brought us over a beautiful display of a sundae. It looked so good tht i didn't even want to eat it...
One word. Delicious. You are just gonna have to try this one or one of their many 15 fountain favorites. This alone is worth coming to Cafe 50's - I tell ya.
Craig later came on over later and kindly offered us a tour of the joint. Took us to their Tiki Room. People, they have a Tiki Room filled with surf boards, Hawaiin stylized decorations, bamboo trimming and 1950's Hawaiin/Polynesian 50's Albums and postcards...this is definitely a cool room to come eat at.
Walking with Craig as he showed us everything on their walls and around was like talking a history tour. He had so many old school stuff like Ike buttons, gas masks, posters, and a Predicta TV that plays nothing but old school classic movies. In fact, Craig tells us that a customer once told him that in one of the movies being played her aunt was in it and pointed her out. How cool is that?
|Ike Buttons, Gas Masks, Old Tin Cans and Games|
|Craig next to their famous jukebok|
So if ever in the mood for a 50s throwback meal and experience...come on down. The place was recently opened; about 4 moths ago and Craig wants to invite everyone in the area and about to come on down. Specially in the evenings. They are always having great specials and even have a Pajama Parties. They serve breakfast alllllll-day and as mentioned above, have a great selection of shakes and fountain specialties.
They also print a newsletter with jokes and a glossary of the 50s lingo with a calendar of their events. The have a kids eat free night, a Scrabble night, a celebrity birthday night and as mentioned...a pajama party night where if you come in dressed with your PJs you get something free....aint gonna say what....you just gotta come on by. They also have magicians on Sundays from the Magic Castle.
Any evening you come I assure you, you will have or be into a treat.
Any evening you come I assure you, you will have or be into a treat.
So visit Cafe 50s and also visit their website for a list of specials and also their menu
850 North Vermont Ave
Los Angeles CA 90029
Photos courtesy of Doña Junta