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The Original Spanish Kitchen was a restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California that became the subject of an urban legend starting in the early 1960s.

The restaurant, which opened in the mid-1940s, was a popular eating spot until September 1961, when the Original Spanish Kitchen closed for good. [1] What made the closing of the restaurant so unusual was the combination of its success and the fact that the building's contents were left totally intact for years afterward.

Even after closing, the tables continued to be set with full place settings and the lunch counter fully stocked with coffeemakers and cooking utensils. The sudden closure of the restaurant gave rise to speculation and the subsequent urban legend that the owners, who lived in an apartment above the restaurant, were murdered at the hands of organized crime. The truth was more prosaic, according to a 1986 article in Tables magazine by reporter Don Ray. He determined that the owner had come down with Parkinson's Disease and the restaurant had been shuttered by his wife after she found that she was not up to the task of running it.[2]

After nearly forty years in limbo, the building is now the site of an upscale beauty salon. The Original Spanish Kitchen's original vertical electric sign, which had become a Los Angeles landmark over the years, was modified to read simply "SPA" - a reference to the new business on the location.[3] Another Spanish Kitchen, now open on the restaurant row section of nearby La Cienega Boulevard, has an exact replica of the sign on the side of their building—despite it not being the original Original Spanish Kitchen.

References

  1. ^ Larchmont Chronicle Story Archives: EL COYOTE
  2. ^ The Mystery of the Spanish Kitchen
  3. ^ Off the floor, onto the walls
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