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The Proud Bird , Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)

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Name:The Proud Bird
Street:11022 Aviation Boulevard
City:Los Angeles
Phone:310/ 670-30 93

Early 60s built themed restaurant, Tiki-related only because of its WWII Veteran theme, but also for being owned by the Specialty Restaurants Corporation, which also owns the Castaway in Burbank (which still has a few Polynesian touches left) and The Reef in Long Beach (whose Tiki theme has been mostly renovated away). Plus another WWII themed restaurant, the 94th Aero Squadron at the Van Nuys airport, and many other themed places throughout the US:

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-06-27 05:44 ]

I arrived at LAX yesterday and stumbled on this beauty. Since I have a sizable group of Los Angeles restaurant archeologists I can call my friends, I was quite surprised that I had never heard of this classic. I love LA. I had just landed, and Blam!, made another urban archeological discovery. :)

This place is in industrial nowhere land with no other restaurants around, right in the LAX flight path, between empty lots and parking lots adjacent to LAX.
It has some of the themed elements that were introduced by Polynesian restaurants, but applied to all kinds of themed California eateries by the 1960s:

Outrigger beam-type A-frame construction:


Waterways to be traversed by bridges:

But the water features here are dominated not by growling Tiki Gods, but something else just as imposing:

Complete shot of the entrance:

The collection of vintage aircraft is the most stunning feature of the place:

One can sit in the dining room and look out at them:

...or walk out on the terrace. There must be around 20 full size planes surrounding the place:

Another neat feature is the long hallway leading to the various dining rooms. It is lined floor to ceiling with vintage photographs and memorabilia showcases, here just a few:

Commercial airlines showcase:

Amelia Erhardt showcase:

I had heard of the Flying Tigers, but never of these guys:

I am not a WWII nut, but I have liked war movies and all that related stuff ever since I was a little boy. This is a great playground, just what a themed restaurants shoud be. How many restaurants after all can boast a parking Lot like this:


Not tiki, but definitely a very nice find! I would have certainly stopped there last year when I flew into LAX had I known about it.

On a related (but also not tiki) note... for those of you who like this place with all the WWII planes and ephemera, next time you're in Orlando, check out Fantasy of Flight which is just south on I-4 from the theme parks. It features a huge private collection of vintage aircraft. But what makes it really special is that most of them have been restored to flyable condition and the man who owns them picks one of them to fly around nearly every day. I'm not an aviation nut by any means (despite my father being a former Air Force fighter pilot), but the place is way cool.

I have been there a handful of times, but never noticed the waterfalls.
It does have a nice WWII warbird vibe.

It's really more war bird-in-your-face than a vibe, I would say. :D
Here's another picture of the parking lot (with the 105 Fwy in the background):

and here is the "Churchill Room":

and the porte cochere to their Grand Ballroom:

In closing I must mention though that, just like the other restaurants of this group, the general feel of the place is that of a fully renovated in Mc Mansion style light wood/etched glass/shiny brass kind of an establishment, if you know what I mean. If not, just check out the Castaway in Burbank.


Sad to say, the Proud Bird is closing.

We were there for lunch last week, and I believe the date they gave is Dec 21 for the last day. Echoing Sven's introduction to the Proud Bird above, it's really one of those great old establishments that's very rewarding to visit. This is a "Beyond Tiki" post, but here's some Bird-watching pics from our visit...

One of the planes out front by the entrance

View from the dining room; that P-38 was flown by WW2 ace Major Richard Bong, with a pic of his wife Marge on the side

The display with more info about Major Bong

Earhart display

More bird watching

Hope some Angelenos or even visitors in town will get a chance to fit in a visit!


Randy, Pete Moruzzi just told me yesterday that they are trying to sub-divide the land around the restaurant (parking lot, air field) to enable them to stay with the lower rental cost for the property that they had for so long, so there is a sliver of hope...

aquarj posted on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 9:02 AM

Good to hear there's a sliver. The story we heard when we visited was that the airport itself wants to use the land for something else, which sounded like the destiny was set. But that's also consistent with the idea of subdividing it to keep a smaller area for the restaurant.


Good News:


[ Edited by: Hakalugi - fixed link - 2013-12-13 07:37 ]

Good news indeed !!! I heading to my wife's company Christmas party tonight being held at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. A famous institution in the warbird community. Much like vintage Tiki establishments these planes and the stories of the people who flew them must be saved.

I don't get it, sell one of the real war birds and replace it with a replica and it will pay the lease for many years


That's great news Sven, thanks for posting the update! The history at The Bird is something to be Proud of.


More good news! The Airport Commission signed a 20-year lease for the Proud Bird. I need to get over there one of these days.

Proud Bird

And, Norm's on La Cienaga got a reprieve from the wrecking ball today as well! A good day for Googie.


Reminds me of the old 391st Bomb Group restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida. Found some pics online....I seemed to remember there being more planes, but I moved to Port Saint Lucie in 1999 and maybe these pics were taken after the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, maybe they lost a few during the storms. Closed in 2006.


I seem to remember that the guy who owned the restaurant also owned the "Memphis Belle" B24 replica that was used in the movie. Got to tour that plane in the early '90s, let us go up inside and sit in the seats and all. Told him I was suprised that he let people do that, with "souvenir" collectors out there possibly taking pieces with them. You could also go for a ride in the plane the next day....it was something like $400 a head, I didn't have that kind of cashflow to justify the expenditure.


(edit: Memphis Belle was a B17, not a B24 as I mentioned above)

[ Edited by: howlinowl 2015-01-16 17:23 ]


On 2015-01-16 07:54, Dustycajun wrote:
More good news! The Airport Commission signed a 20-year lease for the Proud Bird. I need to get over there one of these days.

Proud Bird

And, Norm's on La Cienaga got a reprieve from the wrecking ball today as well! A good day for Googie.


Good news all around!

Great new for the PROUD BIRD. An interesting story about David Tallichet. I was the Executive Chef for the 94th Aero Squadron in Philadelphia, and then the General Manager of the Castaway in Troy NY...during a visit to NY he was donating/loaning a War Bird to the local Air Museum (Empire State Aero Sciences Museum at Schenectady, New York) and visiting the restaurant. I went to pick him up at the airport/museum....all of a sudden we heard this LOUD airplane...but could see nothing...all of a sudden in fly's a B-25 w/ Mr Tallichet piloting the grand old Bird. He was known for flying alone w/ a dummy for a co-pilot as he was not supposed to fly alone! Very interesting man! OGR


Yep, this is the guy I mentioned above who owned the B17 Memphis Belle. Cool guy.


On 2015-01-16 07:54, Dustycajun wrote:
More good news! The Airport Commission signed a 20-year lease for the Proud Bird. I need to get over there one of these days.

Proud Bird



Pages: 1 17 replies