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You'll Eat Up '50s Touches at Edie's

January 23, 1988|ANNE Z. COOKE

They can talk the talk ("Cool, man"), but can they walk the walk? At Edie's Diner, another in an infestation of gen-yu-wine 1950s hangouts, they can and do.

Edie's Diner, overlooking a watery finger of the Marina del Rey boat harbor, is not only refreshingly devoid of pony tails and poodle skirt props but actually serves good, hearty food 24 hours a day. And this in a town where most public joints close by 11:30 p.m.

But prime time for atmosphere and a meal at Edie's is Saturday and Sunday breakfast. If you arrive after 9 a.m., expect valet parking and a wait for patio tables outside or red Naugahyde booths inside. And the sound of Ritchie Valens on the jukebox. You'll find the wait worthwhile.

When the sun shines, the yachting crowd (and imitators in deck shoes), tourists from New Jersey, locals and others greet the day at white tables on the wood-plank deck looking down over sailboats rocking gently in their slips.

The strong scents of coffee, bacon and eggs and home-baked cinnamon rolls and blueberry muffins drift over the tables and blend with the salt air. The fresh orange and grapefruit juices are "squeezed to order, not ahead of time," according to manager Michael Cernak.

Selling a Concept

"We're selling a concept," he says, pointing to the made-in-the-'50s jukebox play-selector units mounted over the counter. In this case, however, the concept isn't only the good old days born again, but "home cooking, 1950s style. Meat loaf and gravy, chicken-fried steak. Of course, we've got a combination seafood plate, too, for more modern tastes."

Cernak, who admits to being barely "30-something," was surprised to learn that seafood was a '50s favorite, specifically fried shrimp in a basket with French fries, a staple at more than one heart-of-the-cornbelt drive-in.

He recommends the Blue Plate Specials--grilled pork chops, barbecued chicken and the like with vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy--served on, what else, blue plates.

Ida the waitress, in a short white dress and white cap, said she has waited tables here for 10 years, since the place was called Captain Bligh's Cafe.

She brings us hot cinnamon rolls, then serves waffles and sausages to a young couple in jeans poring over a road map. In the next booth, four beautiful people in matching jogging suits and reflector shades dig into eggs and pancakes.

A Few Tacky Touches

Ida loves working at Edie's, although waitressing doesn't seem to provide enough exercise for her. After eight hours on her feet here, she goes home and walks another couple of miles.

Edie's does have its tacky touches. A collection of movie star publicity pictures. Color photos with corny captions. While examining the latter, a girl in a leather miniskirt with red spiked hair catches her reflection in the picture-frame glass and adjusts her makeup. Then, still waiting to be seated, she goes back to examining the photo of fat, pink-and-black-spotted pigs sleeping peacefully in their sty.

But waiting for a table isn't a major trauma; most folks stand outside in the fresh, morning air, hang over the rail and watch the sailboats slip their terrestrial bonds.

Through the open door, faint sounds from the jukebox rise and fall. "Lucille? Please come back where you belong . . . ." Little Richard must have meant Edie's.

Edie's Diner, 4211 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. Open 24 hours daily except midnight to 6 a.m. Tuesday; (213) 823-5339.

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