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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Historic Hollywood Restaurant Thrives. A New York Counterpart Quitely Fades Away

Los Angeles restaurants, even famous ones, come and go. The Brown Derby, Chasen’s, Mike Lyman’s, the Seven Seas, Fog Cutter, the Cock and Bull, Scandia, Nickodell’s, Perino's, Romanoff's – all were popular in their day and now are long gone.

We're still crazy about Musso & Frank after all these years
Not so for Musso & Frank Grill, a favored hangout for several generations of Hollywood power brokers and celebs. The fabled eatery, opened in 1919, is undergoing something of a regeneration, reports the Los Angeles Times.

While far short of a thorough overhaul, the changes include extended bar hours until 2:00AM on Friday and Saturday and an upgraded wine list.

In October, Jordan M. Jones, 29, a fourth-generation descendant of one of the early owners, assumed full control of the restaurant.

"All over nowadays you see new places trying to re-create history," Jones told the Times.

"They try to make them look old because that's something everybody appreciates and loves, even the younger generation. Vintage is cool. All these places are trying to re-create it, and we don't have to. We have it right here."

Charlie Chaplin, Rudolf Valentino, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald and countless others routinely dined at Musso's.

Indeed, today's regulars, who include Johnny Depp and Keith Richards, don't want to see too many improvements made.

The restaurant interior – dark wooden booths with red upholstery – has remained largely untouched for nine decades. So has the menu. Let's hope they never do away with the flannel cakes, chiffonade salad, or roast beef hash.

We expect Musso to thrive another 90 years.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for New York's romantic Cafe des Artistes, which closed without fanfare in August.

It was an elegant hideaway for generations of musicians, Broadway performers, cabaret artists, and socialites.

“If ever a restaurant had fine, aristocratic bone structure it is Café des Artistes,” William Grimes wrote in a review of the restaurant for The New York Times in 2003.

Cafe des Artistes
Gone after 92 years!
“Diners have only to take one step inside, and the tumultuous New York world outside disappears in a flash, replaced by lush floral displays, flattering lighting and Howard Chandler Christy’s pastel murals of naked beauties prancing through romantic landscapes.”

The restaurant opened in 1917. Christy, one of the artists who lived in the apartment building above, the Hotel des Artistes, began painting the murals in 1934.

George Lang took over the W. 67th St. establishment in 1975. Now 85, he quietly decided not to reopen after his summer vacation.

The fate of the historic premises and famed murals is unknown.

Cafe des Artistes' website is still online, offering menus, history and photos. Musso and Frank Grill's website also provides a history through the decades. Click here to read the full report on Musso and Frank Grill in the Los Angeles Times.


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  2. These all are the great culinary delights restaurants, which are all very historically famous and has been maintaining a great goodwill as well.