At the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California sits a restaurant you know. Not because you had a memorable meal there, although there’s a slight chance you did, but because you’ve seen it before … many times.
Johnie’s Coffee Shop opened in 1956 as Romeo’s Times Square and, despite a few name changes, had served food and coffee to patrons until it closed its doors in 2000. And while the restaurant closed up shop 15 years ago, everything inside is still pristine. The lights are on, the tables are clean, the seats are polished. There’s just no one there.
Johnie’s Coffee Shop is a Hollywood’s restaurant. One of the Hollywood restaurants. When a film director needs a diner, coffee shop, or restaurant with that 1950s California Googie vibe, he/she turns to Johnie’s. Where have you seen it? Here’s a short list:
The Big Lebowski
The “family restaurant” where Walter starts going off about our basic freedoms is Johnie’s.
When Harry finds out nuclear war is about to erupt, he’s at Johnie’s.
Not that infamous opening scene, but when Mr. Orange meets with his superior, he’s meeting him at Johnie’s.
American History X
Derek and Danny stop into Johnie’s toward the end of the film.
City of Angels
When Nicolas Cage’s character finds out he can go from angel to human, he does so at Johnie’s.
Johnie’s gets a brief cameo as firefighters battle a volcano near the restaurant.
Very Bad Things
Johnie’s served as the restaurant where Jeremy Piven’s character informed the crowd that he killed his brother.
“Swingin” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The majority of the music video features Tom Petty singing from a cushioned-seat in Johnie’s.
“Beautiful Girls” – Sean Kingston
Back in 2007, Sean Kingston released this track which dominated Top 40 airways. The video is all filmed at Johnie’s.