Monday, February 20, 2012

The Penny Cafeteria

To feed Los Angelenos with little money in their pocket during the Great Depression, Clifford Clinton opened the Penny Cafeteria at Third and Hill streets in October of 1932.

Clifton's Brookdale opened in 1935.
For one cent, the poor and hungry could buy a simple meal that included macaroni, beans, stews, thick soups, salads, bread, dessert, and coffee. Each meal cost 4 1/2 cents to provide. Clifford operated the cafeteria, labeled as "the Caveteria" by the Los Angeles Times, out of the basement. The main floor dining room was operated conventionally and food prepared there was brought downstairs.

Clifford opened the Penny Cafeteria partly out of necessity. He had been operating the Olive Street cafeteria for about a year, and feeding the multitudes had taken a toll on his business. Clifford had fed 10,000 people in the first three months. With the threat of bankruptcy staring him in the face, Clifford shifted his neediest clientele to Third and Hill.