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Possible Urban Archaeology: Coffee Dan's in Van Nuys, CA

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Found this postcard the other day. Back doesn't say much, other than they had other restaurants in Arizona and New Mexico.

Check it out:

Note the shape of the building. See the detail image below- The Outrigger Room:

Anyone know anything about this place?

[ Edited by: martiki6 on 2003-08-06 07:59 ]

I'd say you at least have some killer googie there..that coffee shop is hot.


Was there an address? The building might still be there somewhere. I could swing by and check.


I kind of remember Coffee Dan's. There were a few of them around SoCal. I don't really remember the Outrigger Room, though, and I can't recall where the Van Nuys Coffee Dan's was actually located. Possible I might have been there when very young, but way too young to drive so I wouldn't have a clue as to how to get there.

long long gone....

One of the reasons I got into architectural preservation in the first place. As a kid I was drawn to the mysterious vibe of the building and especially the colorful sign and bar lights. I remember asking my parents if we could go in - not understanding what a 'bar' was. (those were innocent times). They flatly said "no." When I went back to find it as an adult - it was gone...

It was on the east side of Van Nuys Blvd. (between Victory and Vanowen) in the heart of the San Fernando Valley and was torn down some 20 years ago for a mini mall parking lot! I believe it was designed by the illustrious firm of Armet and Davis.

I ended up writing a song about it. Here's the chorus:

"Tear up the Mona Lisa.
"Burn the White House down.
"Implode the Statue of Liberty
"Melt her to the ground.
"Destroy the county museum
"We don't don't need that around.
"'Cause Coffee Dan was my true love...
"And I'll never see him again...
"It's just another Starbucks town."

thejab posted on Wed, Aug 6, 2003 4:31 PM

*On 2003-08-06 16:07, Futura Girl wrote:*One of the reasons I got into architectural preservation in the first place.

Do you work in preservation or is it just a hobby? I ask because I have long wanted to work in that field but I don't know how to get my foot in the door. I guess I could go back to college but the best schools in Historic Preservation are in the East and very expensive. I'm not into going into massive debt from college loans again. Perhaps volunteering is the best way to get started?


I'm assuming most people know about this book "Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture" by Alan Hess. It's out of print but is pretty easy to find. Lot's of info about Coffee Dan's.


Alan Hess is currently working on a new edition of "Googie".

I 'work' as a volunteer in preservation. the pay is getting into places and meeting people that normally might not accessible, and oh... saving cool buildings for future generations.
For those interested in learning more about Mid Century Modern and Googie, I have a suggested reading list available on my website here:
and even more comprehensive list is here: http://www.lottaliving.com/reading.php3

Futura Girl:

Thank you for your most necessary preservation efforts in a city which has sold its soul to developers.

I am crushed. I just got LA Lost & Found and was fired up to drive by and check it out. alas.

However, there is a restored version of polynesian googie very near me:



Just saw this picture on the Skyscraper sight.
check out the Outrigger Room in Van Nuys, you can see the sign on the left side corner of Coffee Dan's.
Any other information about this place like the address or any other pictures anyone?

[ Edited by: hiltiki 2013-11-03 11:53 ]

[ Edited by: hiltiki 2013-11-03 11:57 ]

Dustycajun posted this in the Retro Tiki Lounges Thread back in 2008.

DC also posted this matchbook on the same thread.

Wow, great interior, those were the days! I barely remember catching the tail end of this sort of stuff when I was a wee little future tikiphile...

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