Lalo’s Place. Lalo Guerrero’s Eastside nightclub on Chavez & Marianna Ave. Here’s a look at what some special Eastside places look like today…..
marihuana-boogie and speaking of which…..
206Â½ Atlantic Ave. This little storefront on Atlantic Avenue between Pomona Ave. & The Pomona 60 fwy is what I remember to be the first E.L.A. HEAD SHOP that I ever saw. I was a student at Garfield HS when I followed some friends to this strange little joint one afternoon after school. I recall the oddly strong aroma of incense as we walked in. I was mesmerized by the walls covered in multi-colored, flourescent posters and the display cases full of hippiesh paraphernalia. There was a curtain behind the counter and behind it I could spy many weirdly shaped glass tubes. Being the socially retarded dweeb that I was at the time, I had no idea what the Hell any of that was, but a couple of my friends seemed quite familiar with it all. We went back to the one friend’s house and he put on a record for us in his room. (which oddly enough also reaked of incense and had the same posters, including a cartoon image of a guy saying “Keep on Truckin‘” and an old bearded guy named “Mr. Natural“) The voices of a guy with the heaviest Pocho accent I’d ever heard and another guy who sounded like he was passing out came through the speakers. I was introduced to Cheech & Chong, and I lost a little bit of innocence and pendejo-ness that day.
The old SILVER DOLLAR CAFÃ‰ location. 4945 Whittier Blvd.
The old THRIFTY’S DRUG STORE on Whittier Blvd. & Fraser Ave. The side entrances, long boarded up. The rear alley entrance which led you to the Coffee Shop. Log Jammer breakfasts, hot apple cobbler with vanilla sauce Ã¡ la mÃ³de, strawberry shortcake with mountains of whipped cream. The fluffiest pancakes you ever had. An old lady waitress named “Elmer”. (She was always nice to me). Always a great selection of Halloween costumes in October. Stacks of toys & games above the aisles. The Hot Wheels cars were kept in a locked glass case. Many of my favorite comic books including CREEPY, VAMPIRELLA & MAD were for sale on their magazine racks.
Who remembers when this site on Whittier Blvd. west of Eastern Ave. and the Home of Peace Cemetery was the old L.A. Trolley Street Cars turnaround area where you could catch a ride to Downtown?
JOE GALLO’S PRODUCE MARKET on the corner of Whittier & Ford Blvds. This Joe Gallo guy literally started his businesses by parking his truck on a then empty lot and selling produce out of the flat bed. His business evolved as he built a modest structure to house his growing trade. But, in my opinion, After about 50 years at this corner, the place still seems not that far removed from the level of selling out of a truck. I mean, I’d expect see a lot more to show growth-wise from this popular neighborhood place. It no seems to have diversified with various sub-let enterprises.
The EASTSIDE ICE COMPANY on Ford Blvd. Just north of Whittier Blvd.. I’ve spoken with many an Eastside old-timer and they all claim that this place has been around since they can remember. Anyone who has ever need to chill their chelas has probably been here. You would drive or walk up to the loading dock and some guy would go inside and hand you ice in any form you needed. On this day I watched him push out a large 4 ft. block and slide it across the dock. Pretty cool.
Heading east on Whittier Blvd. was one of my favorite blocks. The picturesque and classic looking stretch between McBride & Duncan avenues. This is where you’d find places like WESTERN AUTO (where I got my first bike), THE HOTEL ASHMUN that seemed to house many families on a long-term basis, and the ever popular CHA CHA CHA BAKERY. This Mexican style Bakery was family run and I remember that behind the counter worked twin daughters named LUNA and ESTRELLA. Years later after this bakery closed, one daughter took over the old SOTELO’S BAKERY location on Whittier next to the SILVER DOLLAR CAFE where she renamed her new place: LA ESTRELLA BAKERY. I’ve included this image of what it looks like today, it’s now called L.A. Whittier Bakery.
The other THRIFTY’S DRUG STORE was at Atlantic Square in Monterey park. This would be the view of the rear entrance and the awesome Thrifty’s coffee shop. Now a Ralph’s.
Next to THRIFTY’S was a NEWBERRY’S. Between those two was a short covered walkway that had a barber shop and Pete’s Deli. There was also a little shack Key Making Shop.The adjacent strip included various small shops like DOBRIN’S gift shop. On the north end of Atlantic Square was a strip that housed (what I can remember..):
- GOOGIE’S Diner
- MUSIC + PLUS Record store
- The GAP
- YEE LOW DELI
- A Pet Store
Across the street was the VAN DE KAMPS bakery restaurant with the giant windmill sitting atop the building. Look at this photo and imagine a huge white windmill that actually spun at one time. It’s now a Carrow’s.
A couple of miles North on Atlantic Avenue was ANDY’S BILLIARDS 742 Atlantic Ave., just south of El Portal Pl. (the street that led to Cascades Park and the multi-tiered fountain that was a favorite backdrop for many a wedding photo) this is where many of us High School pals spend Friday nights shooting pool amidst clouds of smoke from our MORE menthol cigarrettes while listening to WHOLE LOTTA LOVE on the jukebox. The wood beamed lodge style Andy’s Billiards building no longer exists. The Stucco Monster Blob of development has devoured acres of areas that once held some character & style.
Continuing north on Atlantic just past Harding Avenue where we find the site that once housed the Monterey Park Cinemas (that sold movie tickets for 99 cents before they closed down!) and the popular 1990’s hang out; PIRATE’S COVE ARCADE. Everything has been since torn down. This is what it looks like today.
Back in the E.L.A. /Montebello area. 3000 W. Beverly Blvd. & Via San Clemente, to be exact. Who remembers when this was a BASKIN-ROBBINS 31 FLAVORS Ice Cream store. Just west of the SUPER A Market and the H.SALT FISH & CHIPS. Next door was a little coffee shop called ROD’S that in I never went into in all my years of living near there. There was a time, way back, in this neighborhood where regretably, there still existed certain spots that were the unspoken “outposts” of the old guard White people that lived around there. We, the non-whites, rarely ventured in these places because frankly, you’d get a lot of shitty looks if you did, the wjite patrons seemed entirely content just socializing among their own kind, so there was always this kind of segregational detÃ©nte that kept things harmonious in certain spots of good ol’ Montebello. My perception in those days was that Rod’s was one of those kind of places.
And of course, good ol’ BILL’S PARADISE 3202 W. Beverly Blvd. at Findlay Ave, as it stands today. A mere stuccoed shadow of it’s former cheesy self. Ahh,–Paradise lost.
Within the MONTEBELLO PLAZA shopping center at 2629 Via Campo at Wilcox-….. This Circuit City (RIP) building was once ZODY’S.
This used to be SWENSON’S ICE CREAM PARLOR.
…And I believe that this was the location of the old STRAW HAT PIZZA . I had many good times there!
BOYLE HEIGHTS. This is at Soto St. & Rogers Ave. just north of Whittier Bl. The old CHILI DOG DRIVE-THRU. My dad would pack the whole family into the step-van for much anticipated trips to “Los Chili-Dogs de la Soto”. We enjoyed our fill of steaming hot franks and scalding hot chili sauce while riding in the back of the bare, seat-less van that my father seemingly screeched and jolted to a halt at every fucking stop light he came to. Dear old dad! My parents remember that at one time, the hot dogs here sold for 5Â¢ each, the price eventually grew to 10, 15, 18Â¢, and then 5 for $1.
Finally,….. I have 3 more items to ask about. Who Remembers?…….
- The Olympic Avenue exit of the 710 (Long Beach) North Freeway used to have an enormous Electric Digital Sign that read the TIME & TEMPERATURE.
- Channel 34 Spanish language Television, late 70’s maybe early 80’s, there was a late night horror show with strange tales of madness & the macabre hosted by a creepy old crone by the name of “LA BRUJA MALDITA!“. Please tell me someone remembers!!!
- Who remembers making paper flowers out of Kleenex tissues, hi-lighting the edges with lipstick and making flower chains to tie on the cars for the WEDDING PROCESSION DOWN WHITTIER BOULEVARD. Usually the ceremony took place at a church like ST. ALPHONSO’S. Afterwards, You could hear every car honking loudly as it made it’s way down the boulevard. Usually with Car Club escorts leading the way. You’d stand on Whittier and spot the car with the beaming happy couple in the back seat and we’d wave at them for good luck!
So who remembers?………………………….