Photo by John Eng

Johnie's Coffee Shop

The beloved Johnie's Coffee Shop at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax was officially designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) on November 27, 2013. 

On November 19, the Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee approved recommending official designation of Johnie's as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). The HCM nomination was submitted by the Conservancy and our Modern Committee, with the help of architectural historian Alan Hess.

We strongly believe that Johnie's is eligible for listing as an HCM as a representative work of the local architecture firm Armet & Davis and as a significant remaining example of Googie coffee shop architecture in Los Angeles.

The City's Cultural Heritage Commission also supported the nomination. It voted unanimously on June 6 to accept and take the nomination under consideration, then recommended designation at its August 15 meeting.

Since May 2013,  the Conservancy has been working very closely with the owners of Johnie's and their representatives to garner support for the HCM nomination. We have made great progress and will continue working together collaboratively in the coming months to address the long-term preservation of Johnie's.   

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) announced plans to purchase (or require a construction easement) Johnie’s to facilitate staging for the construction of a new Wilshire/Fairfax station as part of the Westside Subway Extension project.

While Metro acknowledges the significance of Johnie’s and doesn’t plan any modifications for the building, landmark designation will ensure it receives strong protection from demolition and inappropriate alterations in the future.

The nomination was prepared by architect and author Alan Hess, whose books Googie and Googie Redux are considered the seminal guides on Googie and California coffee shop architecture. Hess also wrote the essay Everyday Modernism, featured on our Curating the City: Modern Architecture microsite.

The former restaurant, which closed in 2000, is currently owned by the Gold family (founders of 99cents Only Stores) and used for location filming. Johnie’s Coffee Shop remains one of the most prominent surviving examples of a Googie restaurant building in the city of Los Angeles and was a featured site on the Conservancy’s 2005 tour Curating the City: Wilshire Boulevard.