Grisinger's, Long Beach 1951
This cute and chubby chef was on the front cover of the menu at Grisinger’s Drive-In in Long Beach, California in the early 1950s.
The diner featured old-timey favorites such as malted drinks, 35c cheeseburgers and home-made strawberry, boysenberry and peach pies described as ‘the pie grandma wished she could have baked.’
Built in 1950, Grisinger’s was an example of Googie architecture, the futuristic design style created for a world increasingly influenced by the automobile.
Designed by the esteemed Californian architect Wayne McAllister, the eye-catching building at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and San Antonio Drive had a flat and rounded roof with a prominent neon sign. Parking was in a wagon wheel configuration so people could be served directly from their cars by carhops.
McAllister designed many other famous California restaurants such as Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, the Pig n Whistle and Van De Kamp’s drive-ins. He designed the first restaurant for the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, advised on the project that framed the first franchised McDonald’s with a pair of golden arches and designed the El Rancho Hotel in Las Vegas.
In 1996, this iconic restaurant was renamed George’s 50s Diner, after its new owner George Alvarez, who had been an employee at Grisinger’s.
The property was declared a Long Beach historic landmark in 2004.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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