Chasen's

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Chasen's
Chasen's Awning 2.JPG
Chasen's entrance from Beverly Blvd. October 1997
Restaurant information
Established1936; 83 years ago (1936)
ClosedApril 1, 1995; 24 years ago (1995-04-01)
Previous owner(s)Dave Chasen (1936–1973)
Maude Chasen (1973–1995)
Food typeAmerican
Dress codeFormal
Street address9039 Beverly Boulevard
CityWest Hollywood
StateCalifornia
Postal/ZIP Code90048
CountryUS
CoordinatesCoordinates: 34°04′39″N 118°23′21″W / 34.0774°N 118.3892°W / 34.0774; -118.3892
Known forFavorite of Hollywood elite and other celebrities
Chasen's interior, June 1987

Chasen's was a restaurant frequented by entertainers in West Hollywood, California, located at 9039 Beverly Boulevard on the border of Beverly Hills. It opened for business in 1936 and was the site of the Academy Awards party for many years. It was also famous for its chili. Elizabeth Taylor had several orders of Chasen’s chili flown to the set of Cleopatra in 1962 while filming in Rome.

Many of the restaurant's regular customers had booths named in their honor. The Ronald Reagan booth is now on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and was where Reagan proposed to Nancy Davis. Other well-known entertainers with their own booths included Frank Sinatra, Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, and Groucho Marx. The restaurant suffered a decline in business over the course of many years and closed permanently in 1995.[1]

History[edit]

Comedian Dave Chasen opened the restaurant in December 1936[2] on the advice of director Frank Capra.
it was initially called "Chasen's Southern Pit". The New Yorker's editor Harold Ross funded the operation, along with business associate Daniel Silberberg.[2]
It was nothing more than a shack at the beginning, but it quickly became well-known for its chili and was soon a favorite among Hollywood actors. Capra had to lend Chasen his silverware for the restaurant's operation.[2]

Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, W. C. Fields, James Cagney, Clark Gable, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were customers. As newer generations took the reins of Hollywood, trendier restaurants drew the celebrities and stole some of Chasen’s clientele, but many stayed faithful to the end. Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Richard Nixon, James Stewart, Don Rickles, Milton Berle, Kirk Douglas, Ronald Reagan, and Jack Lord were still regulars, along with newer celebrities such as John Travolta, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and Mel Gibson. Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson were frequent guests. Carol Burnett treated guest stars of her variety show to dinner at Chasen's following the Friday night tapings from 1967 to 1978. Chasen's did not accept credit cards. Instead, established or recognized customers simply signed for their charges and had a bill mailed to them.[3][4]

The restaurant closed on April 1, 1995 and the site was used for private parties and as a filming location (The Opposite of Sex). In 1997, its contents were auctioned off, including pictures, bars, booths, and paneling. Many original photos and artwork from Chasen's walls, ten of the booths, and the barstools are now found in Santa Paula, California in the Mupu Grill on Main street, including a piece by LeRoy Neiman of Tommy The Maitre'D. Comedian Brian Haley purchased the Frank Sinatra booth, the bar, the front awning, and many other items. The original building was demolished and a Bristol Farms grocery store was built in its place. The store's cafe features several booths from the original Chasen's and some of the original paneling.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, David (February 20, 1995). Brown, Tina (ed.). "Chasen's Fadeout". The New Yorker. New York City. ISSN 0028-792X. OCLC 320541675. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Kunkel, Thomas (1995). Genius in Disguise. New York: Random House. p. 237. ISBN 0-679-41837-7.
  3. ^ Grace, Michael (October 25, 2011). "CHASEN'S – Dave Chasen's legendary Hollywood restaurant to the stars didn't allow credit cards or "celebrity chefs"!". Cruising the Past. (blog).
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2013-08-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)