Googie Diner Reopens in California

Posted on: November 27th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

Mel’s Drive-InA Googie-style restaurant reopened yesterday, almost three years after its owners decided to demolish the 1967 structure in Seal Beach, Calif.

After fans of the Parasol rallied to save the building—more than 12,000 supporters signed a petition—Santa Monica-based owner Century National Properties switched gears and spent $1 million to renovate the building, which has an umbrella-shaped roof designed by Mayer & Kanner.

Mel's Drive-In, its new tenant, began remodeling the interior last winter, after Century completed the exterior renovation.

"We were really impressed with what they did," says Austin Podrat, a spokesman for Century National Properties, which has owned the adjacent shopping center since 1983 and remodeled it last year. "We basically gave them an empty shell, and their [work] really reflects their understanding of the building."

Mel's, which opened in 1947 and is famous for its role in 1973 film American Graffiti, today has seven restaurants in California.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Preservation Magazine