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Clifton's Puts Building Up for Sale as Business Struggles

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2009, at 07:15PM
Clifton's Cafeteria Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Clifton's Cafeteria on Broadway may be a cultural icon, but lately that hasn't translated into sales for the historic eatery. The family that owns the restaurant has put the Broadway building up for sale just three years after finally acquiring it and ending 71 years of rent payments.

The L.A. Times reports that the restaurant intends to keep operating, but hopes a cash infusion will shore up a suffering business.

Donald Clinton — son of the cafeteria’s founder, Clifton Clinton — told The Times in February that business had been down 30% in the previous six months.

“We are trying to survive during difficult times,” he said.

(Calls to Robert Clinton, the president of Clifton Cafeteria Inc., were not returned Wednesday.)

Broker Ed Rosenthal said the ideal buyer would be able to improve the building and restore it to its previous splendor while allowing the cafeteria to continue operating there. But in the meantime, the family, he said, “is hoping to get lucky....[to] just make some money.”

The restaurant opened in 1935 as Clifton's Brookdale, and was part of a chain that had cafeterias across the Los Angeles area.

In 2006 the Clinton family finally acquired the Broadway building, which contains five stories and a basement. At the time, Clifton's president Robert Clinton told the Downtown News that "Now we're able to control our destiny, a little more at least."

The five-story building is being marketed for $4.75 million.

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