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Early Hollywood Restaurant Pictures

                         Early Hollywood Restaurant Pictures

Hollywood boasted of having some of the finest restaurants and nightclubs in the world.The boom in popular entertainment necessitated the opening of the new and luxurious restaurants on Hollywood Blvd.  Musso & Frank Grill was an instant hit when it opened at 6669 Hollywood Blvd. In 1919. Founded by John Musso and Frank Toulet, they operated the small restaurant for six years, until they sold it to Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso, whose name was so similar to Musso.

For a while, Musso’s was about the only fine restaurant on the “boulevard.”  The movie people came and still do, but without the glamour deemed necessary in other restaurants.  It also became extremely popular with the local merchants and businessmen, like Charles E. Toberman.  In need of more room, the restaurant expanded in 1936 to 6667 Hollywood Blvd., where it continues in popularity, due to an extensive menu, well prepared food and fine service.  Today, it’s the oldest restaurant in Hollywood and is owned and operated by Rose Keegel (John Mosso’s daughter), Edith Carissimi (Joseph Carissimi’s daughter-in-law) and Jesse Chavez.  To many of those who havce dined at Musso’s, it is considered the finest restaurant in Hollywood. Go to to view Musso and Frank Grill pictures

In 19223, Eddie Brandstatter opened the Montmatre Café, down the street from the famous Hollywood Hotel.  It was a movie-colony favorite during its brief history, and fans lined it’s sidewalk, stairways and even foyer to catch a sight of the many stars that entered and exited. By 1929, the mobs of spectators were so dense that patrons began to complain.  Brandstatter cut a passageway into the joining building and opened the private and very exclusive, Embassy Club.  However, without the adoring fans to reflect the patrons’ egos, the stars quickly lost interest in both establishments.

One of Hollywood’s finest and most popular restaurants, the Hollywood Brown Derby was opened on Valentine’s Day, 1929, at 1628 North Vine Street in a building erected by Cecil B. DeMille.  Founded by Herbert Somborn, he hired Robert H. Cobb as combination steward, buyer, cashier and occasional cook.  After Somborn’s death in 1934, Cobb was made President: shortly thereafter, he became the owner.  With a collection of caricatures of movie stars hanging on the walls, and excellent cuisine, the Brown Derby became immensely popular with both the  motion picture personalities and the general public.  At lunchtime, stars in costume and makeup would rush in from the sets to entertain friends or be interviewed by writers.  Young movie hopefuls would eat frugally on money scrimped for the special occasion, all he whild eating slowly and keeping a watchful eye for agents or friends who have made it in show business and who might offer monetary or moral support, of for a studio executive looking for “just the type.”  The Brown Derby can take credit – or blame – for the introduction of telephones at tables at mealtimes.  A loud speaker system for paging and phone lines to each table were installed so that busy executives would not have to interrupt a luncheon.  The number of times an agent or ad man was paged came to indicate the degree of popularity, and from time to time, these calls had been tabulated and the results circulated as the Derby Derby. has fine photos of the Brown Derby restaurant, including the many celebrities who eate there.

Other restaurants patronized by picture personalities included the Hollywood Roof Ballroom at 1549 Vine Street, the Pig ‘n Whistle at 6714 Hollywood Blvd., Henry’s Delicatessen near Hollywood Blvd. And La Brea Ave.; and the Armsrtong-Carlton at 6600 Hollywood Blvd.

Hollywood also boasted a highly respectable number of speakeasies during the days of Prohibition, some of which featured gambling as well as liquor.  The Hollywood Division Police gave the enforcement of the Volstead Act the same lack of priority it received in other large, cosmopolitan towns, much to the relief of Hollywood’s celebrants. Errol Flynn was famous for his gin recipe, which he supposedly prepared in the backroom of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

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