Cafe 50's was started by Craig Martin
who doesn't quite remember the 50's
but he was born in them!
Growing up on a military base in Germany
Craig grew up listening to AFN Radio (Armed
Forces Network) a radio station for U.S. Military
and Civilians living in Europe. Late at night he
would listen to an 'oldies music show' called "Old
Gold Retold" produced at the AFN Radio station in
Frankfurt, Germany. After the oldies show, at
midnight, AFN would play the Wolfman Jack Show!
Of course, Craig's parents thought he was sleeping,
but in his basement bedroom he would be listening
to classic American Rock and Roll!
In college he became very familiar with music
from the 50's by listening to Los Angeles radion stations
KRLA and KRTH and from watching the movie
"American Graffiti," the "Wanderer" and "Diner".
Craig felt that L.A. lacked a dining
hang-out where classic American cuisine is combined
with 1950's nostalgia and the atmosphere of a
After having opened a French-style bistro in Northridge, California, he teamed up with two partners and opened the first Cafe 50's on a corner location in the former Java Time coffee shop located in Venice, California. His concept has been to combine the classic diner look coupled with a lunch counters, stools, stainless steel, a 1957 Seeburg Jukebox, lots of chrome, vintage booths and wallbox selectors located on the counter. The kitchen sits exhibition style so customers can watch their meals being cooked.
In an adjoining room, you can find authentic 1950's memorabilia with "B-movie" posters, a 1955 Muntz Television playing "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners" reruns and 50's newsreels, tin advertising signs, a trophy case with West L.A.'s University High School sports trophies and yearbooks, political Cold War era newspapers, Eisenhower and Nixon 1954 campaign slogans and even a Schwinn Bicycle hanging from the ceiling.
Stop on by Cafe 50's at 11623 Santa Monica Blvd. in West L.A. and say "Hi!" to Craig. He likes to give tours of our "Memorabilia Room." Cafe 50's was an actual diner in the 40's and 50's. In the 60's and 70's the location was purchased by a Chinese family who changed the menu to Chinese food but kept the nostalgic diner look, including the original counter. Drive on over, park your vintage Cadillac, Chevy or Hotrod out front and step in to the 50's!