I‘ve been on the lookout for a truly authentic 1950s diner since I arrived in California. I finally found it, driving down Wilshire Boulevard and screeching to a halt as soon as I locked eyes on its mighty mid-century neon facade. Only one problem: Johnie’s Coffee Shop isn’t serving any coffee and waffles today … or tomorrow. At a closer look through its windows, the booths of Johnie’s Coffee Shop are empty, the counters are covered in dust and you can be sure the sound and smell of sizzling bacon is only in your imagination. Welcome to Hollywood’s ghost diner…
This unchanged gastro relic of Los Angeles is almost a perfect snapshot of American Space Age design– just without the patrons and staff that once brought it to life.
Located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, it opened in 1956 as Romeo’s Times Square and changed ownership twice during the 1960s when it became Johnie’s Coffee Shop. After more than four decades of service, it closed its doors to the public in 2000.
That coffee-stained newspaper is dated April 1961.