Original Spanish Kitchen

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The Original Spanish Kitchen was a restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California, USA, that became the subject of an urban legend starting in the early 1960s. The restaurant, which opened in the mid-1940s, was a popular eating spot until it closed in September 1961.[1]


Following its closure, the building's contents were left intact for years afterward, the tables remaining set with full place settings and the lunch counter fully stocked with coffeemakers and cooking utensils. The restaurant's sudden closure gave rise to speculation and the subsequent urban legend that the owners, who lived in an apartment above the restaurant, were murdered at the hands of organized crime. The truth was more prosaic, according to a 1986 article in Tables magazine by reporter Don Ray. He determined that the owner had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and the restaurant had been shuttered by his wife after she found that she was not up to the task of running it.[2]

After nearly forty years in limbo, the building became the site of an upscale beauty salon in 2005. The Original Spanish Kitchen's original vertical electric sign, which had become a Los Angeles landmark over the years, was modified to read simply "SPA", a reference to the new business on the location.[3] Another Spanish Kitchen on the Restaurant Row section of nearby La Cienega Boulevard had a replica of the Original Spanish Kitchen sign on the side of its building, although this is not the original building.[4] The replica of the Spanish Kitchen closed in July 2012.

The Original Spanish Kitchen appears briefly in the background of the Michael Nesmith video for his song "Cruising", which is part of Nesmith's "Elephant Parts" compilation, filmed in 1980, and released in 1981. It is in a five-second vignette which accompanies the words, "passing up the treats from a Kid named Cisco", in the second verse of the song.


Coordinates: 34°04′35″N 118°21′02″W / 34.0763°N 118.3506°W / 34.0763; -118.3506