Los Angeles, CA

5 Facts You May Not Know About Norms, LA’s Iconic Diner

Let's Eat LA

Norms is a Hollywood institution with a surprisingly affordable breakfast

Credit: Norms / Instagram

(Los Angeles, CA) - Norms Restaurant on La Cienega is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.

The restaurant has been serving up its signature American-style diner fare for more than 70 years.

Norms Diner Los Angeles 73 years and countingCredit: Norms/ @_charlesphoenix -Instagram

Here are five fascinating facts about this iconic restaurant.

1. In 1949, Los Angeles native Norman Roybark opened one of the first 24/7 restaurants in Southern California.

Born in 1909 to Russian immigrants, Norman Roybark attended LA high school and waited tables, then worked 70 hours in used car sales with his brother - until he eventually owned his own dealership.

In the 1940s, he noticed burger restaurants popping up around Los Angeles. In 1949, he bought a building on Sunset and Vine.

Roybark knew how to attract customers to his car dealership, and this shows in what he did next.

2. Norms La Cienega in Los Angeles opened in 1957 and remains the longest operating restaurant to date

Norms La Cienega, c. 1976Credit: Norms / Instagram

Roybark got in Eldon Davis, of Armet Davis Newlove Architects in Santa Monica, to create his restaurant space.

They designed the 'space-age' location to feature upswept roofs, geometric shapes, and bold use of glass, neon, and steel.

Called Googie Architecture, it is one of Los Angeles’ original mid-century modern-style eateries.

The iconic sawtooth pennant sign, originally designed for La Cienga location in 1955 and continues to be one of La Cienega's most recognizable features.

The sign was actually drawn on a napkin, by Norm Roybark and architect Eldon Davis.

3. Norm Roybark insisted on fresh food to be made onsite daily - and even had a butcher on site

The friendly service and welcoming environment are just as big of draws now as they ever were, along with the fresh, quality meals at affordable prices.

Look around the restaurant and you will see Norms' fans span across generations, it's clear to see how the brand has managed to maintain its popularity for so long.

4. The new owners promised the Roybark family to keep the same ethos

In 1969, Norm Roybark passed away. The restaurant chain was sold in 2014 to Capital Spring.

This could explain why the chain did not expand during this time as the family did not want to take on more debt.

The new owners promised to keep the same fresh food and family philosophy. The company has brought back Armet Davis Newlove, who designed the original landmark restaurant in 1956.

5. Norms in pop culture

On Norms La Cienega, it's where “George Jetson and Fred Flintstone could meet over a cup of coffee.” - Alan Hess, Historian

Perhaps because the chain is based in Los Angeles and has been around since 1949, it's also featured in countless movies, TV shows, and even a song by Tom Waits.

Jerry Seinfeld shot an episode for his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, while Norms is also depicted in “Norms La Cienega on Fire” the 1964 painting by Edward Ruscha.

Final thoughts

The atmosphere at Norms is what makes it so special; it feels like you’re stepping into a movie set when you walk in.

Alan Hess, the historian, once wrote about Norms La Cienega, “George Jetson and Fred Flintstone could meet over a cup of coffee.”

And what about the food?

I had the Bigger Better breakfast plate, which had hash browns, bacon, and sausages, along with two eggs. It also came with a side of hotcakes, which was about the size of a dinner plate. The bacon was crisp and juicy, and the hash browns were soft and buttery. Overall, unbeatable value.

Don't miss the buttermilk hotcakes, using the original 1940s recipe.

Norms 470 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood (and other SoCal locations)

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Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.

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