Chasen's

Chasen's was a famous restaurant frequented by film stars, entertainers, politician and other dignitaries in West Hollywood, California, located at 9039 Beverly Boulevard on the border of Beverly Hills. It opened for business in 1936 and was the site of the Academy Awards party for many years. It was also famous for its chili. Elizabeth Taylor had several orders of Chasen's chili flown to the set of Cleopatra in 1963 while filming in Rome,[1] and to Oroville, California during the filming of The Klansman in 1974.[2]

Chasen's
Chasen's Awning 2.JPG
Chasen's entrance from Beverly Blvd. October 1997
Restaurant information
Established1936; 85 years ago (1936)
ClosedApril 1, 1995; 25 years ago (1995-04-01)
Previous owner(s)Dave Chasen (1936–1973)
Maude Chasen (1973–1995)
Food typeAmerican
Dress codeFormal
Street address9039 Beverly Boulevard
CityWest Hollywood
StateCalifornia
Postal/ZIP Code90048
CountryUS
CoordinatesCoordinates: 34°04′39″N 118°23′21″W / 34.0774°N 118.3892°W / 34.0774; -118.3892
Known forFavorite of Hollywood elite and other celebrities
Chasen's interior, June 1987

Many of the restaurant's regular customers had booths named in their honor. The Ronald Reagan booth is now on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and was where Reagan proposed to his actress wife Nancy Davis.[3]

Well-known celebrities with their own booths included Frank Sinatra, Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, and Groucho Marx. The restaurant suffered a decline in business over the course of many years and closed permanently in 1995.[4]

HistoryEdit

Comedian Dave Chasen, who had starred in many shows, especially with Joe Cook, such as Fine and Dandy, opened the restaurant in December 1936[5] on the advice of director Frank Capra.

It was initially called "Chasen's Southern Pit". The New Yorker's editor Harold Ross funded the operation, along with business associate Daniel Silberberg.[5] It was nothing more than a shack at the beginning, but it quickly became well known for its chili and was soon a favorite among Hollywood stars. Capra had to lend Chasen his silverware for the restaurant's operation.[5]

ClientsEdit

Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, W. C. Fields, James Cagney, Clark Gable, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were among its customers.

As newer generations took the reins of Hollywood, trendier restaurants drew the celebrities and stole some of Chasen's clientele, but many stayed faithful to the end. Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, and James Stewart as well as Richard Nixon, Gregory Peck, Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Milton Berle, Kirk Douglas and Jack Lord were still regulars, along with newer celebrities such as Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, John Travolta and Mel Gibson.


Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson were frequent guests. Carol Burnett treated guest stars of her variety show to dinner at Chasen's following the Friday night tapings from 1967 to 1978. Chasen's did not accept credit cards. Instead, established or recognized customers simply signed for their charges and had a bill mailed to them.[6][7]

The restaurant closed on April 1, 1995[8] and the site was used for private parties and as a filming location (The Opposite of Sex). In 1997, its contents were auctioned off, including pictures, bars, booths, and paneling. Many original photos and artwork from Chasen's walls, ten of the booths, and the barstools are now found in Santa Paula, California in the Mupu Grill on Main street, including a piece by LeRoy Neiman of Tommy The Maitre'D. Comedian Brian Haley purchased the Frank Sinatra booth, the bar, the front awning, and many other items. The original building was demolished except for the Beverly Blvd side and a Bristol Farms grocery store was built in its place. The store's cafe features several booths from the original Chasen's and some of the original paneling.[9]

After it closed, investor Grady Sanders bought the name from the Chasen family and opened a new Chasen's in Beverly Hills in 1997. However, in 2000, this restaurant closed down.[10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jacob, Matthew; Jacob, Mark (2010). What the Great Ate: A Curious History of Food and Fame. Crown Publishing Group. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-307-46195-7.
  2. ^ O.J. Simpson - Tonight Show - 1979 (YouTube). NBC. 2017-12-23 [1979].
  3. ^ Geary, George (2016). L.A.'s Legendary Restaurants: Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played. Santa Monica Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-59580-801-1.
  4. ^ Brown, David (February 20, 1995). Brown, Tina (ed.). "Chasen's Fadeout". The New Yorker. New York City: 88. ISSN 0028-792X. OCLC 320541675. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Kunkel, Thomas (1995). Genius in disguise : Harold Ross of the New Yorker. New York: Random House. p. 237. ISBN 0-679-41837-7.
  6. ^ Geary, George (2016). L.A.'s Legendary Restaurants: Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played. Santa Monica Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-59580-801-1.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2013-08-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Barnes, Mike (21 August 2014). "Ronnie Clint, Longtime GM at Chasen's Restaurant, Dies at 89". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  9. ^ Kang, Matthew (2015-01-30). "Only A Shadow Remains of Chasen's, One of LA's Most Historic Restaurants". Eater (website). Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  10. ^ Pettera, Angela (20 April 2000). "Chasen's in Beverly Hills Closes Its Doors". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 February 2020.