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We are lucky in Los Angeles to have a lot of spectacular vintage restaurants, but we are still losing many every year to owners who retire, sell out for money or lose their long-held lease to nasty gentrification.

I’m a sucker for a joint with history, charm, character and stories.

I’m not as selective about a menu as I am about the ambiance, atmosphere and what I am experiencing.

My criteria for the restaurants here is that they are 1979 or older, although there are a few exceptions, and that they are within about an hour’s drive from downtown L. You will find classic steakhouses, Googie diners, pastrami delicatessens, walk-up hamburger stands and more. As of August 2016 the list is at just over 400 places, spread as far south as the bottom of Orange County, east to San Bernardino and north to Santa Clarita. I have been photographing all of these restaurants and have a Google Map in the works broken down by type of restaurant, location and descriptions.

When the restaurant has a web page I provide that, but if not I share a link to a review, Yelp or Wikipedia. It will make it easier to find the vintage restaurant you are in the mood for by neighborhood.

It will be ready shortly and published here at the Los Angeles Beat.

I regularly post additional photos of these places on Instagram and Twitter. Serving sandwiches and pickled eggs since prohibition was appealed, this old-time tavern features a wooden bar, wood booths and a pool room full of memorabilia.

I pray that old places don’t renovate their mid-century or even mid-’70s decor.

I often search the internet for authentic old-school spots in neighborhoods I visit and finding them is not always easy.

After a lot of detective work I’ve compiled this “Master List” and hope to update it regularly.

I’m sure there are many holes in my research and would appreciate additions and updates in the comments section below.

Please follow me using the preceding links to see more. It opened in 1915 as Raymond’s Pharmacy in the same location that it stands today. (1925) Formosa Cafe Opened by a prize fighter in an old red trolley car, it has kept its vintage integrity.

It has an old fashioned feeling inside with embossed tin ceilings and wood floors. (UPDATE July 2015: The original vintage interior has been gutted and subjected to an unfortunate flavorless remodel). Classic old school Italian market serving deli sandwiches on bread baked on premises.

Known for the “Godmother” sandwich, first created in 1952.

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