Why Family Restaurants Thrived in Studio City

Despite proliferation of chains, lots of choices still exist in Studio City.

 is a  for locals looking for solutions to community problem or issues or questions—from public nuisances and eyesores to local mysteries, post it below in the COMMENTS or send it to MikeS@patch.com and we'll get an answer for you. If your question appears in our column you will receive a gift certificate of $25 to a local business from Studio City Patch. 

Dear Jack,

Where were the first delis, coffee shops and family restaurants located in Studio City in the 1930s and '40s?


—Cam Bennetts


Dear Cam,

A few weeks ago we had a with some present residents of Studio City, who had a very limited historical knowledge about the best restaurants of years past , such as the , and

Now, we will go way back to eateries for kids, family restaurants and ethnic food establishments. I hope some folks who have an appreciation of things past, will join our discussion, by posting a comment at the end of my piece.

My specialist is a friend of mine, who is also an alumnus of (now ). He has lived in Studio City since 1943, and has a home off of Coldwater Canyon Boulevard. He is a North Hollywood family law attorney by the name of . Every few years, he and his wife host a reunion party at their home for the Carpenter Avenue School class of 1957. More than 100 school chums attend this affair.

Hugh and his family came to Studio City in 1943. Hugh’s father was a jeweler and Russian immigrant who loved to eat. Hugh has an older sister. Every Sunday Dad would take the family to a new restaurant in Studio City, and sometimes way out to Sherman Oaks. As a young boy, Hugh began to become a food specialist for lots of varied dishes.

Let’s start with the predecessor to . Yes, there was a deli at that site before It was called Farber’s Deli. It was run by Mr. Farber and his wife. It only had a counter area, with no tables and chairs. It must have not done too well, since Art made him an offer he could not refuse. In the middle 1950s, Harber’s was history, and Art became a work of Art’s for the next 50 plus years (53 to be exact!)

We seem to forget, that Studio City was a family town. Following WWII, many families moved to Studio City and purchased their first home. Thus many restaurants came to Studio City to service these families.

We had Harry’s Diner, which was across from the on Ventura Boulevard. It basically served hamburgers and hot dogs. Another family restaurant was Scoops, on Ventura just west of the Studio City Theater.

The best name for a restaurant in Studio City, was the House of Murphy. Hugh Lipton remembers it as a regular American restaurant, located where the is now situated at Radford and Ventura Boulevard. It died when the center was built adjacent to

Lipton remembers the Chinese restaurants to be of a special variety. Nicely kept up and known for good drinks, i.e. strong—not watered down. The Far East Terrace was located on Lankershim Boulevard, north of the present 134 Freeway.

Joe Woo was the owner, who was a part-time actor, and magician. The best known Chinese restaurant was outside of Studio City, in Panorama City. It was called Phil Ahn’s Moongate restaurant. Phil Ahn was a well known actor in Hollywood.

The chain coffee shops came to Studio City with on Ventura Boulevard adjacent to the Pat Galati Union station, and car wash. Tiny Naylors was a chain coffee shop. Many high school kids hung out there at night after going out with the boys or the girls. It was good reasonably priced food. It was taken down when the new center was built.

Across the street was the It had a 50-person food counter, and served a range of food. Kids would order cherry cokes and fries, and Gary Lipton remembers the first “plate of spaghetti with a topping of chili.” That is the only time he saw that that kind of dish of food. I loved to order their apple cobbler. It came with vanilla ice cream, and a creamy sauce to die for.

The most ethnic restaurant in Studio City was the Moskva Cliffs restaurant in the Coldwater Corners area of Ventura Boulevard. There were not many Russians in the area, and we looked at them as the “Communists” in that post WWII era. Gary went to the restaurant, but not on a regular basis. The building still stands today.

Many businesses patronized the kids of Studio City. We had a Kiddyland on Ventura Boulevard, pony rides, miniature  golf on Laurel Canyon, where is now located. The Hot Dog Stand was doing business at Coldwater and Ventura Blvd, with its unique dog design.

These eateries were successful because of all the families in the area. Besides the public schools, , and were in the Studio City area. There were many types of restaurants to choose from. 

Hugh Lipton, his sister, and Mom and Dad went out on average three nights a week. Hugh’s Mom liked the idea of not cooking, his Dad just liked food, and Hugh and his sister always thought it was a thrill to go out in the family car to a new restaurant.

We now have more chain restaurants in Studio City. The chain restaurants do a large business. The new restaurant, always seems to have a waiting line, and new restaurants always seem to be coming to Studio City, but some only last a year, before competition forces them out of business. The family restaurant is not what it was, and Studio City is not just a family area.

There are many young single men and woman, who live, work, or patronize Studio City. It is a community always growing and changing with the times.

Skraeling September 07, 2011 at 06:30 PM
I suspect I have lived in Studio City far longer than you, and, yes, except for other obligations, I would leave Studio City, as it is not the place it once was. Glad to hear about the person cleaning Ventura Blvd...from all appearances, it could use a few others but I notice the growing numbers of vacancies and wonder how long an improvement assessment will be maintained. As for Carpenter School, I have given over 25,000 dollars over a period of 15 years..and have bought entire tables for their fund raising...don't lecture me about community involvement! My family name is none of your business, and i wonder why you are being such a putz since you began this thread. Any one who has lived in Studio City for any length of time, if they are honest, would see, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that this area, immediately North of Ventura and one block south, has declined in many ways as a strictly residential area. Developers of large apt and condo complexes have had a field day since Wendy Gruel and now her successor came upon the scene. Since this is your column, you should stick to deciding what is a family restaurant and what isn't...I didn't come here to insult you, why are you trying to insult someone you don't know? I don't see you doing much to actually improve the area, in fact, you are leaving....chill out..
Jack McGrath September 07, 2011 at 07:22 PM
From now on- I only respond to people who have a family name. This is not a column for Cher, Madonna, Dion, Elvis or Jack. Your deserve no response.
Skraeling September 07, 2011 at 07:43 PM
But, you just did. Grow up.
Lemora Martin July 03, 2012 at 06:39 AM
You didn't mention Dupar's, opened in 1949, and still going! I first dined there in a high chair, and most recently with my 94 year old dad. It's the only place in the Valley where you can get Welsh Rarebit. In the early '50's, there were slightly seedy, ersatz "log cabins" for rent in the area just southwest of the Dupar's parking lot, where the mini-mall, including Trader Joe's, now stands. I don't remember a House Of Murphy on that site in, say, 1953, just the cabins. The Tahitian, a Tiki Restaurant, was just east of Dupar's on Ventura. I'm also surprised you don't mention The Wild Goose on Ventura. That building still stands. On the southeast corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon was Herbert's drive-in, complete with car hops. Mickey Rooney mentions going there with Judy Garland (in the late forties/early fifties) after work. Currie's ice cream parlor was directly across the street from the Studio City Theatre. The Moskva Cliff restaurant was one of Marlon Brando's favorites. Recently, I was saddened to see the decline of the once-beautiful neighborhood known as Eucalyptus Grove, bordered by Moorpark , Laurel Canyon, the L.A. River and Radford. The houses look run down and the eucalyptus trees are gone. Kiddieland was not where Von's is. A miniature golf course was. It was torn down in the late fifties when Food Giant was the brand new market that first occupied the current Von's building. Kiddieland was on Ventura, about where Draper's and Damon's is now.
Betsy Cutter November 27, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I grew up on Cantura St which runs parallel to Ventura. There was a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place called Gallo's Pizza that had the best meatball subs I ever tasted, then or now. Steve Gallo saved enough money to open his own little Italian place in the late 60s and the food was still pretty good. I remember my dad giving us money and sending us out the back gate, across the alley and onto Ventura to get meatball subs. We ate at Moskva Cliff once as I remember, and of course DuPar's and Thrifty (oh, those fries!). Times change. When I was a child in the 60s, we could walk pretty much anywhere we wanted and not worry about our safety. Today I'm not so sure. I am also a proud alum of Carpenter (class of '65, with your sisters) and Walter Reed (class of '68). Great article.


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