In the news from L.A. today:

Yesterday, the LA Conservancy posted an alert on their website that a demolition permit had been approved for the iconic, Googie-style Norms restaurant on La Cienega at Rosewood Avenue. The Norms chain sold late last year. The eye-catching 1957 building was designed by Googie gods Louis Armet and Eldon Davis, and is both a textbook example of the endangered and whimsical Googie style — the Jetsony look emblematic of Southern California in the Jet Age — and the quintessential California coffeeshop. (link)


On Googie style, on this blog:

Googie … is … the name of an architectural style of the 1950s and 60s, named after the L.A. coffee shop Googie’s (now demolished). There’s a Wikipedia entry, with pictures.

On Norms, in its own puffery prose:

NORMS Restaurants made its debut in 1949 when Norm Roybark, a Los Angeles native, opened his first NORMS Coffee Shop near the famed Hollywood corner of Sunset and Vine. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between, we continue to honor the promise of our historic neon sign which read, “We Never Close”. Founded by Norm Roybark, NORMS Restaurants continues to thrive in an era that has seen many trendy restaurants come and go.

Today there are 18 NORMS Restaurants, all located in Southern California. Our management teams are committed to Norm Roybark’s original vision of providing “Great Food, Great Service and Great Value.”

Of course, the diner put in an appearance in a Zippy (of 8/22/06):


I’m not sure how strong an argument can be made for historical preservation of a 1957 coffeeshop, but then history is shallow in L.A., and the Conservancy will make its pitch.

[Update: At the hearing, Los Angeles’ Culture Heritage Commission voted to consider granting Historic-Cultural Monument status to Norms Coffee Shop on La Cienega. This would protect the iconic building in the Googie modern style until a final decision is made by the commission.

Architectural historian Daniel Paul testified that there are three great Googie restaurants left — Panns, Bob’s Big Boy Toluca Lake, and this Norms.

A further find: a 1964 painting by Ed Ruscha, “Norms La Ciegena, on Fire”:


About Ruscha, on this blog: from 2011 here.]

One Response to “Norms”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    A reminiscence, from Mike Pope on Facebook:

    This is sad for me. I was born in Hollywood, and when I was very young we used to live close to this Norm’s. One of earliest memories ever is of going to Norm’s for pancakes after my father and I picked up my mother, who (I deduce) worked swing shift as a nurse at Kaiser. This has to have been the very Norm’s that we used to go to (and it must have been quite new at the time). I’ve been back a couple of times since as an adult, and imo they still have good pancakes.

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