Clifton’s Cafeterias original location a 618 So. Olive Street was transformed into a tropical wonderland in 1939 after Clifford Clinton and his wife, Nelda, visited the South Pacific and Orient returning with treasures and ideas from this vast empire.

Such highlights as the huge waterfall and tropical foliage on the façade, the rock portico beneath the front entrance, the Polynesian grass hut, interior waterfall, the extensive tropical jungle scene mural in the main dining room, the rain hut on the mezzanine where it “rains” every twenty minutes and the many other attractive features that lend to the atmosphere of the South Pacific were all inspired as a result of extensive tours throughout these lands of enchantment by the Clifford Clintons.

Before Remodeling

After Remodeling

In 1939 when the founders of Clifton’s decided to remodel the Pacific Seas cafeteria from a conventional dining establishment to the exotic setting, the Los Angeles Architectural Commission was so upset over the facade and the décor that it threatened suit.

This exterior with the waterfalls, geysers and tropical foliage – all of which are brilliantly illuminated in the evening, has become a mecca for tourists and Angelenos alike being placed by many in the same category with Angel’s Flight, Olvera Street, Pershing Square and other prominent landmarks in downtown Los Angeles.

Aloha to Clifton’s Pacific Seas

On June 17th 1960 the Pacific Seas closed its doors. To those of us long associated with this restaurant it was like giving up part of ourselves.

Esther Baldwin York
Editor Food For Thot

Esther Baldwin York
Clifton’s “Pacific Seas”

Step from the street with its dust and cries
Into an island paradise.
Amid these tropic trees and flowers,
Find rest and food and happy hours,
Where rainbow waters cool the air;
Where girls with blossoms in their hair
Offer you tempting foods to eat;
Where the atmosphere is gay and sweet
With friendliness; where music sings
To lift your spirit on its wings
From here you’ll seek the streets again
Refreshed to meet your fellow men.

–Esther Baldwin York

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