Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Clifton’s Cafeteria- 3/5 Stars

Clifton’s Republic
$$ Bars, Venues & Event Spaces, Dance Clubs
648 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Clifton’s Cafeteria looks like it’s been through a rock tumbler but still offers an old-timey kind of charm about it. All of the old pictures of how it used to be are not here anymore. This isn’t a how-it-used-to-be place anymore but an old cafeteria that is repurposed by branding and marketing to offer generic American buffet-style food at not-cafeteria prices. I enjoy the over-polished urban decor with mood lighting because it is pleasing and acts as a window to its authentic past behind its new Las Vegas veneer. So, fortunately, for me, seeing old concrete walls behind what was cleaned and stripped off feels a little authentic by it being like a museum presentation piece.

You begin your journey by walking left from the host stand to the first-floor cafeteria. You see a carving station, $meat (however much sliced-on-demand meat is), $3 cups of quinoa, $6 soups, $6 ‘side salad’ and $11 ‘dinner size’ salad. And everything else that is at least $3. Freebies include that you can grab water in a paper Coca-Cola cup and bread rolls are free. You carry a tray, and are responsible for grabbing a napkin and forks first.

We sat on the second-floor bar. My friend grabbed a Manhattan from a very slow bartender. I finished my $6 small side salad while he was waiting for his drink. The salad was good and I added onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, spinach, carrots, and vinaigrette. The guy doing the bar was either kind of new at his job or doesn’t have a bar manager who carries a bullwhip. I work at a music venue with bartenders that fill a drink in one hand and place napkins on the bar in the other, while simultaneously taking new orders. It took about ten minutes for him to get his drink with three other people there. After he finished his drink and food, we went back to the bar. I then took out my iPhone timer to see how long it would take for this guy to get him his check and credit card from the computer at the bar. It took four and a half minutes while serving two more customers.

We didn’t have time to try the third-floor bar but went upstairs to look at it. It is incredibly attractive. It offers a lot of beauty and quietness and feels a bit more upscale and not like a place for high traffic like the two previous floors. The only thing I thought was of how something feels subliminal about the image on the tv screen of a cathedral at the very center of the third-floor bar. What are we supposed to pay reverence to?

Useful: 4  Funny: 0  Cool: 1