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Finally! Clifton's Is Reopening Next Month With New Bars And Restaurants

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After four long, long years of renovations, Clifton's Cafeteria will finally reopen its doors on September 17.Purchased in 2010 by Andrew Meieran, owner of the The Edison, the glorious cafeteria located at 648 S. Broadway in downtown is almost ready to show its $10 million facelift to the public. We all got a little tease back in February when the neon sign was turned back on. The food will be served cafeteria-style, just like before, but the massive space will have new dining areas and bars. With four floors (and a basement) containing five bars and two restaurants, it's no surprise that it took so long to get everything done. "If I literally picked the most difficult project and populated it with the most difficult features, it would be Clifton's," Meieran told Downtown News. "Somebody had to do it. I decided it was me."

Angelenos will be pleased to know that Meieran has preserved the kitschy, nature-inspired decor that made the place such a landmark, but also updated it for the 21st century. He consulted with the Los Angeles Conservancy to ensure it kept its character. He even utilized space in the building that hadn't been opened to the public before. "Andrew did a fabulous job," Linda Dishman, executive director of the Conservancy told Los Angeles Magazine. "He took spaces that had not been included in the restaurant and made them into a Clifton's for this century."

The first floor will preserve the redwood forest decor, inspired by the Santa Cruz Mountains. The second floor, which will have more seating for diners, will also have a bar and soda fountain taxidermied animals and dubbed Cathedral Grove, named for the Muir Woods grove. The third floor will have a Gothic Bar and a performance space for bands and DJs.

The fourth floor will be home to the Treetops bar and lounge, and will also have a steakhouse that will open later on. Also on the floor is a tiki bar called Pacific Seas. In the basement, Meieran will open a bar called Shadowbox, an "industrial space" that will have ice sculptures on display.

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According to the L.A. Times, the menu will be put together by executive chef Jason Fullilove, formerly of the Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar.

Clifton's Cafeteria, which was the last of a chain of what used to be 12 restaurants founded in 1931 by Clifford Clinton, famously offered free meals to those who could not afford to pay. While they won't be be replicating Clinton's generosity exactly, each check from the restaurant will give patrons the option to donate towards low-cost meals. The new restaurant will also be donating vouchers to nonprofits, and part of its large workforce will be hired through job training programs like Homeboy Industries.

Clifton's will be opening in phases, starting September 17, and it should be fully open by the end of Halloween. Can't wait!

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