Musso & Frank Grill
Musso & Frank Grill is a restaurant located at 6667-9 Hollywood Boulevard in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The restaurant opened in 1919 and is named for original owners Joseph Musso and Frank Toulet. It is the oldest restaurant in Hollywood and has been called "the genesis of Hollywood."
Musso and Frank, a classic "New York-style bar and restaurant," was founded in 1919 by Frank Toulet, Joseph Musso, and chef Jean Rue. It was called "Francois" and was located at 6669 Hollywood Blvd. The restaurant changed its name to Musso & Frank in 1923.
In 1927 the restaurant was sold to Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso (no relation to Musso). In 1936 Mosso expanded the restaurant to include 6667 Hollywood Blvd. The big room on the east side of the restaurant, opened in 1955, is still called "the new room." The restaurant has kept its original character, which includes high ceilings, dark wood paneling, and red booths. Its waiters and bartenders dress in the same red coats that they have worn for decades. The restaurant is still owned by the descendants of John Mosso and is managed by his great grandson Mark Echeverria.
Musso and Frank has maintained its classic decor and its classic steakhouse style menu, which includes such dishes as Welsh Rarebit, Lobster Thermidor, and chicken pot pie, available only on Thursdays.
Cultural role in the life of Los Angeles
When Musso and Frank opened in 1919, the political and financial life of Los Angeles was centered in Downtown Los Angeles, which was a difficult journey at that time. This made it possible for the restaurant to attract the more bohemian and intellectual clientele who were starting to spend time in Hollywood.
Literature, theatre and politics
By the 1930s Musso and Frank was firmly established at the center of Hollywood's cultural life. The Screen Writers Guild was located across the street, and Stanley Rose's essential bookstore was right next door to the restaurant. Many writers of the hard-boiled fiction that Rose preferred, who hung out in the back room of the bookstore, spent endless hours in the bar of Musso and Frank, including James M. Cain, John Fante (who frequented the restaurant with famed journalist and historian Carey McWilliams), Raymond Chandler, and Nathanael West. Other literary regulars include William Saroyan, Dashiell Hammett, Erskine Caldwell, Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elliot Paul, and Donald Ogden Stewart. By the 1940s the restaurant was so firmly identified with the Los Angeles literary scene that aspiring writers, e.g. Charles Bukowski, would drink there in a conscious effort to imitate their role models. Eminent California historian Kevin Starr has said that a list of writers who frequented Musso and Frank resembles "the list of required reading for a sophomore survey of the mid-twentieth-century American novel."
Important Los Angeles progressives and communists were identified with Musso and Frank (and Rose's bookstore as well). Future California congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, famous for being defeated by Richard Nixon in a notably dirty 1950 Senate election, ate dinner at Musso and Frank on her first night after moving to Los Angeles with her husband, actor Melvyn Douglas. Noted actor and CPUSA member Will Geer met regularly at Musso and Frank in the late 1930s and 1940s with a group of young radical writers and actors.
The film industry
From its founding, Musso and Frank has been part of the social life of the Los Angeles film industry. The restaurant kept a separate back room for its film industry clientele, which included not only screenwriters, many of whom are listed above, but actors, producers and directors as well, including Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Warner and his brother Jack, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, William Frawley, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Orson Welles, Rudolph Valentino, and Budd Schulberg. The restaurant's popularity with industry clientele continues to the present, with modern stars, e.g. Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Keith Richards, and Harrison Ford patronizing the restaurant.
In popular culture
Due to its status as an iconic Los Angeles restaurant, Musso and Frank has been featured in multiple films and television series including Ed Wood (1994), Oceans Eleven (2001), Greenberg (2010), the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), Mad Men (2007-2015), The Kominsky Method (2018–present), and Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).
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- Kevin Starr (1 September 2002). The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s. Oxford University Press. p. 300. ISBN 978-0-19-515797-0.
- Balla, Lesley (February 22, 2019). "Musso & Frank Turns 100 as David Lynch, John Travolta and More Dish on Hollywood's Oldest Restaurant: "There Must Be a Trillion Stories"". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
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- Larry Wilson (January 24, 2012). "Eateries old, eateries new". Pasadena Star-News.
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- Cecil Smith (December 17, 1972). "Will Geer: Waltons good sweet American corn". Los Angeles Times. p. O2.
'Bless me,' said Will Geer and he took off his floppy bushman's hat and looked around the dark paneled room of Musso-Frank's Grill. 'Forty years ago and more I used to come here, a group of us, young writers and actors eager to change the world, young intellectuals. Well, Charlie Chaplin always had his lunch here and he'd greet us with: "Here come the young revolutionaries. I was a revolutionary before any of you were born..."' Will's booming laugh rattled the crockery in the famous old restaurant on Hollywood Blvd.
- Stefanie Powers (2 November 2010). One from the Hart. Pocket Books. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4391-7212-4.
- Sam McManis (June 17, 2012). "L.A. noir: It's still there". Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Philip K. Scheuer (August 13, 1933). "A Town Called Hollywood". Los Angeles Times.
I have seen [Garbo] three times since: Once at the old Montmartre Cafe, thinly disguised by dark glasses, striding from her luncheon table; once at Musso-Frank's, informal in slacks, gulping near-beer and attacking spaghetti; and last week, wan and fidgety as she sat in an old hump-backed limousine on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.
- James Mathers (April 7, 2009). "Drunk or sober, Musso & Frank was Orson Welles' first stop in Hollywood". Los Angeles Examiner.
- Anthony Slide (Summer 1999). "The Silent Closet". Film Quarterly. 52 (4): 24–32. doi:10.2307/1213772. JSTOR 1213772.
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- Levy, Shawn (January 31, 2002). "Swingers". The Guardian. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- McCarthy, Todd (February 14, 2010). "Review: 'Greenberg'". Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- "Coen Brothers' 'Man' is darkly moody, handsomely shot — Film Noir Blonde". www.filmnoirblonde.com. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
- solutions, Prodev-internet-. "Mad Men at Musso & Frank - filming location". www.sceen-it.com. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
- "Review: 'The Kominsky Method' follows its own winning methodology with the help of Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas". Los Angeles Times. 2018-11-15. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
- Nickolai, Nate; Saperstein, Pat (July 30, 2019). "'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood': A Guide to the Los Angeles Area Landmarks". Variety. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
- Nathanael West. Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust. New Directions Publishing Company. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8112-1822-1.
- Budd Schulberg. What Makes Sammy Run?. Random House. p. 136. ISBN 0-679-73422-8.