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Let the Renovations Begin! Clifton's Cafeteria's Makeover Will Happen Slowly Over the Summer

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It's time for the grande dame of Los Angeles' golden era cafeterias to get her facelift. Clifton's Cafeteria in Downtown will close up two days a week during the summer as part of new owner Andrew Meieran's renovation that will turn the beloved "Brookside" joint into a contemporary nightlife destination that will not shed its own history in its reincarnation.

The restaurant will close Mondays and Tuesdays, reports L.A. Now, for a "deliberately slow-footed, phased renovation." The paced-out upgrade is designed to ensure that the employees--many of whom have been at Clifton's for several years, or decades--don't lose their jobs.

Meieran, who owns DTLA's swanky The Edison, has plans to turn Clifton's into a round-the-clock eatery with an updated menu, but maintaining the cafeteria-style service. Already, small significant changes in the kitchen have taken place, like using "fresh instead of frozen produce, organic vegetables when possible and real butter."

Those ingredients are going into recipes culled from the vaults--think Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Parmesan--for some throw-back cuisine.

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The top floors, which are currently underutilized, will become a nightlife destination with a neighborhood lounge and sit-down restaurant service. Those spaces could open before the end of the year. Plus, the bakery will be reopened and have for sale Clifton brand baked goods.

As part of the renovation, historic elements will be preserved, but the building's systems and infrastructure will get a much-needed update, including installing disabled access and restrooms.

Meieran purchased Clifton's in the fall of 2010, after original operators-turned-owners of the building, the Clinton family, put it on the market.