George's 50s Diner | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

George's 50s Diner

Wayne McAllister, designer of Grisinger’s Drive-In and other iconic diners of the late 1940s and '50s, created his designs for a world shaped by the automobile and for people who seldom willingly left it, even to eat. McAllister created drive-ins all over the car-obsessed Southland, developing a recipe for the building type along the way. Grisinger’s in Long Beach has all the essential ingredients of the drive-in diner with a building that served as its own best advertising at the busy intersection of Atlantic Avenue and San Antonio Drive.

A prominent stucco wall that formerly featured neon lettering projects high above the irregularly-shaped corner building.

The interior dining room has a continuous, curving glass storefront that glows like an advertisement to passing drivers at night. The flat roof has a wide overhang with neon letters advertising “hamburger” and “shakes.” Drivers could pull up to the rear and park in a modified wagon-wheel spoke configuration so they could be served directly from their cars by carhops. The parking lot side of the building is clad in green and pink tile. Walkways of green terrazzo wrap around the building.

The signage for the original Grisinger’s has been replaced, but owner George Alvarez, who has worked at the diner since the late 1970s, maintains the spirit of the 1950s and '60s diner and car culture. Grisinger’s Drive-In was declared a Long Beach historic landmark in 2004.

Kentucky Fried Chicken
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Kentucky Fried Chicken

In the late 1980s, Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee Jack Wilke wanted his location to have a design that paid tribute to the Googie architecture with playful, Deconstructivist design.
Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Metropolitan Community Church

The Metropolitan Community Church provided LGBTQ Christians and other religious groups with a safe and inclusive place for worship.
Photo by Michael Locke

Union 76 Gas Station

Originally designed for LAX, the most amazing gas station in Southern California is widely recognized as one of the best examples of Googie design in the world.