Replay: Mel’s Drive-in: Why critics didn’t take Googie architecture seriously

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Mel’s Drive-in Restaurant is located along Lincoln Blvd., at the corner of Olympic Blvd. “These [Googie-style] buildings were made for that modern lifestyle. They grabbed your attention as you drove down Lincoln Boulevard or Ventura Boulevard at 30-40 miles an hour. … You knew exactly what they were through the plate glass windows. You can see that there were people enjoying the restaurant,” says co-author Alan Hess. Photo by Amy Ta.

Mel’s Drive-in Restaurant in Santa Monica is an example of Googie architecture: a retro futuristic style featuring stretched roofs, large glass windows, and neon signs. 

The Silver Lake restaurant staple, Casita del Campo, has been serving margaritas for 60 years. And the downstairs theater, The Cavern Club, hosts raucous drag shows.