RSS Feed


Posts By Category

American Legion Post 43 (2) Articles (1) ASC (1) Barnsdall Park (1) BLACKOUTS (3) Brown Derby Restaurant (12) Charles Chaplin Studio (1) Charles E. Toberman (1) Chinese Theater (13) Churches (1) Ciro's Nightclub (3) Cirque du Soleil (1) Cocoanut Grove (2) Coconut Grove (7) Crossroads of the World (1) Earl Carroll Theater (3) Ernest Torrence (1) Farmers Market (2) Garden of Allah (1) Garden of Allah Hotel Photos (11) Gay Pride Parade (1) Gilmore Stadium (1) Grauman's Chinese Theater (3) Grauman's Egyptian Theater (2) Griffith Observatory (3) Hancock Park & Windsor Square (1) Hand and Footprint ceremonies (2) Hollywood (11) Hollywood Airfields (5) Hollywood Athletic Club (1) Hollywood Blvd. (14) Hollywood Bowl (11) Hollywood Canteen (43) Hollywood Canteen Book (3) Hollywood Fire Dept. (1) Hollywood Guild and Canteen (3) Hollywood Historic Places (1) Hollywood History (4) Hollywood Hotels (4) Hollywood Images (17) Hollywood Legion Stadium (2) Hollywood Nightclubs (4) Hollywood Oil (1) Hollywood Palladium (6) Hollywood Photographs (11) Hollywood Photos (52) Hollywood Pictures (16) Hollywood Police Dept. (1) Hollywood Radio (1) Hollywood Real Estate Developments (1) Hollywood Restaurants (7) Hollywood School For Girls (2) Hollywood Sign (34) Hollywood Sign History (6) Hollywood Stars Baseball Team (3) Hollywood Studio Club (3) Hollywood Television (1) Hollywood Theaters (4) Hollywood Walk of Fame (42) Hollywoodland (2) Hollywood's Anniversary (1) Ken Murray's Blackouts (1) Larchmont Village (1) Laurel Canyon (7) Magic Castle (1) Millennium Hollywood (1) Mocambo Nightclub (2) Moulin Rouge (1) Movie Making (6) Movie Palaces (1) Movie Premieres (1) Movie Studios (25) New Photographs (1) Outpost Estates (1) Pan Pacific Auditorium (2) Pantages Theater (2) Parades (2) Paramount Studio (1) Paul DeLongpre (3) Pilgrimage Play (3) Pinterest (1) Poverty Row & Gower Gulch (2) Radio and Television (2) Republic Studios (1) Restaurants/Nightclubs (9) Runyon Canyon (2) Santa Claus Lane Parade (3) Santa Claus Lane Parade Photos (1) Schwab's Pharmacy (9) Sid Grauman (1) Sunset Blvd. (5) The Hollywood Canteen Book (1) Valentino (1) VJ Day (3) Walk of Fame (22) Wallich's Music City (2) Whitley Heights (1) William & Kate (1) Yamashiro Hollywood (1)

Posts By Month

Don The Beachcombers Restaurant Photos

Don The Beachcomber Restaurant Photos

Photos of Don The Beachcomber Restaraunt ar very rare. Some of the best vintage photos are on the website. All photos are vailable for purchase.

Don the Beachcomber photo

The story of Don the beachcomber began shortly after prohibition. A small-town Minnesota school teacher with a big imagination named Cora Irene Sund saved enough money so that she could move to Los Angeles and secure a job as a waitress at  the tick-tock restaurant ., Cahuenga Avenue. Cora Sue met and inventive bartender, Ernest Gantt, who served exotic rum drinks at his tacky tropical bar located in a Hollywood Hotel. His moniker was Don the beachcomber. When the schoolteacher and bartender mated, Hollywood's first tropical restaurant was born.  

Restaurant photo

Original Don The Beachcomber Resturant

After borrowing money, the couple opened the Don of the beachcombers restaurant at 1722 N. McCadden Pl., in the heart of Hollywood. A few years later,  they moved the restaurant to a more fitting location across the street at 1727 N. McCadden Pl.  in 1937. There the couple created their own Hollywood influenced romantic notion of tropical paradise, in Hollywood. The restaurant, complete with artificial rainstorms designed to romantically pitter patter down on the corrugated iron roof, was an immediate success.

Photo of Don The Beachcomber Restaurant

New Don The Beachcomber Restaurant

Film land personalities have always had a soft spot for hidden hotspots, and Don the beachcombers was just that. From the outside, the place, surrounded in a forest of bamboo was hard to find, save for a small sign that was intentionally made difficult to read - the underlying message being that if you didn't know where it was you didn't belong.

But inside, Hollywood's first South seat eatery, the owners let their collective fantasies run wild. It was 20 years ahead of Disneyland, and Hollywood's royalty, including the Marx Brothers,  Bing Crosby, Marlene Dietrich, and Greer Garson basked in the folly. The proof was their chopsticks which were enshrined in a glass case.

Small dining rooms, which bore names like the cannibal room, were decorated with palm trees, bananas, coconuts, seashells, sharks jaws, headdresses and carved wooden gods. At one point, the restaurant included a Chinese grocery store, rum shop, gift shop and lei shop. the island shaped dining room tables were made of varnished woods, and more than a few glamorous creatures received proposals of one sort or another in the provocative, candle illuminated rooms. Certainly helping things along where Don's intoxicating rum drinks - missionaries downfall, vicious virgin, cobras fang and the notorious zombie. Don's rum concoctions were so ingenious they even impress drinkers like trader Vic Bergeron.

Cantonese Food

While Don handled the bar part of the business, Cora hired Chinese cooks to create a South Sea Cantonese hybrid cuisine that was way beyond the chop Suey and chow mein found on the menus of most Chinese restaurants of the day. Dishes were made with then uncommon ingredients like water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, lychee nuts, and Worcester sauce imported from China. After feasting on Mandarin  duck, diners might order a Snow cake covered with pieces of pineapple and dried kumquats.

The owners succeeded in business but failed in the relationship. They divorced in 1940 but continue to work together opening beachcomber restaurants in Palm Springs and Chicago.

In 1958, Joe Drown, owner of the Bel Air Hotel, took over the company with businessman David Price and open more beachcomber restaurants including locations like Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, and Waikiki. A decade later, J Ronald Getty, son of J Paul Getty, but the chain. In 1987, the original beachcomber was demolished. Although all the restaurants eventually faded out of style, the Hollywood location was considered to be the most favored and popular.

Vintage photos of the Hollywood Don the beachcombers restaurant can be viewed on the website.

Post a Comment