Welcome To Hollywood!
Yes, it’s an iconic sight – looking down on all of Los Angeles, as a welcoming sign of impending stardom…
It is probably one of the most photographed images in Hollywood, but no matter how much the city promotes “the heart of Hollywood”, the iconic buildings from entertainment’s storied past are being destroyed in front of our eyes….
This is a familiar story on local news: another legendary Hollywood landmark torn down in the name of progress…many are leveled, some just evicted…recently, another landmark restaurant that catered to the stars announced it was closing:
Say Farewell to Dominick’s
The latest casualty is Dominick’s, the legendary West Hollywood restaurant that was home to some of the Rat Pack, as well as Hollywood’s biggest stars. As the Los Angeles Times reported:
“Dominick’s opened in 1948. Frank Sinatra was a frequent visitor, and the restaurant has been a celebrity hangout ever since, with famous customers including Brad Pitt, Ewan McGregor and Britney Spears.”
When former Los Angeles Times Food editor Ruth Reichl reviewed Dominick’s in 1986, she referred to it as:
“The restaurant that all the new American places are trying to be.”
Reichl went on to write:
“There is history in every pore of the place, from the brick that props up a nail that is holding up a piece of the front wall to the funky slope of the roof. Dominick’s has plenty of charm. This is not a restaurant for the hip or the harried, and it is certainly not a restaurant for a Foodie. But for anyone who wants a restaurant that does not take itself too seriously, Dominick’s is a very pleasant place to be.”
Dominick’s is just the latest Hollywood landmark that is disappearing. It’s a very sad trend, as Hollywood’s history is demolished and forgotten:
Farewell To “Chasens” Chili!
The legendary Chasen’s restaurant was located just west of Dominick’s – one of Tinseltown’s most fabled hangouts. It was renowned for its chili, which Elizabeth Taylor loved A LOT!
Here’s Liz enjoying her favorite food at the restaurant with Eddie Fisher – yes, Carrie’s Dad, who Liz stole away from Debbie Reynolds. No doubt they had the chili, because, as this book excerpt points out – Liz LOVED IT!
The Restaurant Is Gone, But The Red Banquettes Live On!
The restaurant was known for its red leather banquettes – and when Chasen’s closed in 1995, the banquettes were saved! More on that in a moment, but first, there is a great documentary that tells some of the restaurant’s greatest stories:
Someone who is trying to save Los Angeles landmarks like Chasen’s – and it’s legendary banquettes – or at least document them before they are gone forever – is my friend Alison Martino – and she worked tirelessly with the new owners to keep the Chasen banquettes in the Bristol Farms grocery store – all part of what she does with her terrific website:
Vintage Los Angeles!
Alison has a great website dedicated to preserving the memory of LA’s iconic haunts!
Alison’s efforts have gotten a lot of attention. Here is the most recent issue of West Hollywood Magazine with Alison on the cover:
Her website “Vintage Los Angeles” is telling the story of Hollywood’s legendary venues, with the hope of helping keep them alive for future movie lovers to enjoy.
You can see the website here:
Alison has great stories about some of LA’s most iconic spots – like this!
“Tail O The Pup!”
Alison produced a great video showcasing the history of “Tail O The Pup”, a legendary LA hot dog stand that, yes, was shaped like a hot dog! See this incredibly fun video here:
Keeping LA’s history alive is so important to our appreciation of entertainment, movies and pop culture, and kudos to all that Alison is doing!
Here is also a story I posted about the “Vintage Los Angeles” website, and Alison’s work in reviving interest in some classic films about Hollywood:
Alison has hosted special screenings of classic movies like this one:
Here is a story about her terrific screening of “Sunset Boulevard”, which included a live appearance from the film’s ingenue Nancy Olson:
You can see a clip from the conversation here:
Alison has also written many stories for Los Angeles magazine and others, looking at some of Hollywood’s most unique landmarks, like this one:
Welcome To The Hollywood Hightower!
This building has been home to a Robert Altman film AND Kurt Cobain!
Here is my story about the Hightower’s Hollywood history, and some of those other legendary Hollywood landmarks that Alison has been profiling:
Happy Birthday Alison!
I posted this on Dec. 15 to celebrate Alison’s birthday – Happy Birthday Alison!
FYI, Alison is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Hollywood, since Alison IS Hollywood royalty!
Here is a photo Alison has shared on her social media, taken with her parents – her father was legendary Hollywood entertainer Al Martino! Along with being one of our greatest singers, he also starred in the greatest film ever made!
Martino was terrific in “The Godfather” as Johnny Fontaine, the down-on-his-luck singer helped by Don Corleone…here is a look at some of the most interesting trivia about the making of that classic film:
So happy birthday Alison, and kudos for your efforts to keep some of Hollywood’s most iconic hangouts alive!
Let me know if you have a chance to eat at Dominick’s before it’s too late!
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