618 S Olive St
Los Angeles, CA
Opened in 1939
Closed in 1960
Clifton's Pacific Seas
by 2 people
Clifton's opened in 1931, and after a remodel to add Polynesian theming in 1939 was rechristened "Clifton's Pacific Seas." The name "Clifton's" is a portmanteau of founder Clifford Clinton's name. Clifton's was a massive cafeteria, and aimed to serve inexpensive meals to all social classes, and promised to turn no one away, even the penniless. A neon sign flashed, "PAY WHAT YOU WISH."
This was the first Clifton's location, today most are familiar with the forest-themed Clifton's Brookdale location at 7th & Broadway, which is currently undergoing a renovation that will include a tropical section in tribute to the original Clifton's Pacific Seas.
Clifton's Pacific Seas was themed on a grand scale. It had an elaborate, multi-story external facade with cascading waterfalls and tropical plantings. Inside there was another large waterfall, huts, and artificial palm trees.
Clifton's Pacific Seas closed in 1960, and the building was razed. It is now a parking lot.