PICTURE THIS: Van De Kamps Coffee Shop and Drive-in, Atwater Village


(c) Courtesy, Los Angeles Public Library.

Van De Kamps Bakery and Coffee Shop with drive-in service, ca. 1945. This restaurant was located at the corner of Fletcher Drive and San Fernando Road in Atwater Village. It was designed by local architect Wayne McAllister in the Streamline Moderne style with neon trimming the roof line and iconic windmill blades. The high-strutting rooster advertises Van De Kamps specialities . . . fried chicken and chicken-fried steak. Signs for Knudsen’s dairy products and Coca Cola are also displayed. Below, the drive-in is brightly lit on an evening in 1954.

Van De Kamps Drive-in at night, 1954. (c) Courtesy, Los Angeles Public Library

8 thoughts on “PICTURE THIS: Van De Kamps Coffee Shop and Drive-in, Atwater Village

  1. My mother worked at the VDK bakery through the fifties and early sixties. I often drove her to work at all hours of the night, from Lakewood during 1959 – 61. I would stop for coffee at the second drive-in the background w/o the windmill. Both buildings were brightly lit with roof edges outlined in blue neon. I remember dating Lori V. a car hop who worked there in 1961. Those were some fun filled days with really fantastic architecture, when anything was possible in America.

    • That’s also when the baked goodies from VDK were really, really good! (Not so much now based on what we recently bought at the market.) Going to VDK as a family and eating in the car with those silver metal trays that clipped on the window or over the front seats was such fun. And the blue neon, spinning windmill blades made it all seem a bit magical. Thanks for the comment!

  2. my grandmothers name was Ethel Ryan. I have a very old photograph of her in a dutch outfit standing outside of the restuarant. Been trying to find out who owned it back then?

  3. I used to eat at this Van de Kamp’s restaurant about once a week with my parents back in the 1950s and early 1960s. I always had the lemon chiffon pie for dessert. Does anyone have their recipe? I’ve been trying to find it for years — it was the best!

  4. Any old Griffin’s car club members circa 1955 or family members around. I was a regular at the Van De Kamps drive in with the Griffin’s car club. I would like to reconnect with any members. Thank you. My name is Brian Ross, please e-mail me with stories, photos, or other memorabilia. Thank you!

  5. We used to eat there when I was growing up. My father used to work around the corner from there at the Southern Pacific Railroad Yards known as Taylor Yards. We would go there when we would pick him up for supper.

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