AKA: Forum Cafeteria, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; Broadway Cafeteria, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - restaurants

Designers: Plummer, Charles F. Architect (firm); Scofield Engineering Construction Company (firm); Einar Petersen (painter); Charles Forrest Plummer (architect); Edson Mason Scofield (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1927-1928

2 stories, total floor area: 17,600 sq. ft.

620 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1807

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Architect Charles F. Plummer (1879-1939) designed this two-story cafeteria building located on Broadway between 6th and 7th streets. The Scofield Engineering Construction Company was the building contractor. Alfred Gottlieb Schaber (1893-1962) spent a total of $400,000 on this cafeteria, the first of a small chain in Southern CA. It was scheduled to open in mid-April 1928. The Schaber Cafeteria took the site of the demolished Platt Music Company Building. In the early years, Schaber's was surrounded by a See’s Candy store at 622 South Broadway and Bellin’s Tie Shop at 618 South Broadway. At this time, the restaurant indicated that it could serve 10,000 customers per day. After about 18 years in business, the Schaber ownership sold the restaurant to C.M. Hayman's Forum Cafeterias of America, a Kansas City, MO, cafeteria company, for $517,000. In 1973, Consolidated Services, Incorporated, an entity headquartered at 680 South Broadway, purchased the Forum Cafeteria. The Broadway Cafeteria operated into the c. 1985, when it became a Carl's Jr. hamburger stand. In 2013, a pants store, "Family Pants," operated in the building. Plans by Figaro Bistro to open a 24-hour restaurant in a refurbished Schaber's space were announced in 11/2011, but these plans did not come to fruition.

The facade featured five bays, the central three featuring arched openings at the second-floor level. The tops of the arches were designed to have fine wrought-iron filigree patterns. Piers on the front facade were topped with florid Corinthian-like capitals. Overall, the building's exterior had a hybrid stylistic character, deriving from the contemporary Mediterranean revival and other sources. (The filigree work was very ornate with iron tendrils whipping about, suggesting an Art Nouveau origin. The work of the fashionable Parisian architect Henri Ragache, for example, displayed similar wrought iron patterns.) On the interior, Spanish tile was used prominently, indicating the architect's intention to suggest Spanish Colonial Revival precedents. A mural by artist Einar Petersen (1885-1986) depicted three Spanish women.

In 1956, the facade was updated and a marquee added. This restaurant was gutted by fire during the Los Angeles Riots of 1992.

PCAD id: 928