Vintage 1950s Lost Buildings
The Brown Derby
formally 3427 Wilshire Boulevard
The Brown Derby was the name of a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles, California. The first and most famous of these was shaped like a man's derby hat, an iconic image that became synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood. It was opened by Wilson Mizner. The chain was started by Robert H. Cobb and Herbert K. Somborn (a former husband of film star Gloria Swanson) in the 1920s.
Opened in 1926, this original restaurant is the most famous due to its distinctive shape. The whimsical architecture was popular at the time, and the restaurant was designed to catch the eye of passing motorists.
In September 1980, the restaurant closed without warning. Local preservationists unsuccessfully tried to stop the building from being bulldozed, but the demolition was completed in November and replaced by a parking lot.
The parking lot was replaced in late 1985 by a shopping center known as the Brown Derby Plaza. The domed structure was incorporated into the third floor of the building, and is currently vacant; it formerly accommodated a Korean bar.