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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photo Essay: Union Station's Harvey House Restaurant, Closed to the Public (Updated for 2018)

Last Updated 7/16/18 3:33 PM PT

Back in the days of heavy train travel, before the advent of dining cars (of which I have become so fond, even in their modern Amtrak iterations)...


Photo: Security Pacific National Bank Collection, date unknown, copyright unknown

...you used to have to actually get off the train if you wanted to get something to eat on a long train ride.


circa 2018

An entrepreneur, Fred Harvey, saw an opportunity and opened a series of restaurants, bars, luncheonettes, etc. in the major train stations across the country, including several in California (San Diego, Barstow, Bakersfield, and even Kelso Depot in the Mojave National Preserve).


circa 2018

Union Station in Downtown LA houses the last of the Harvey Houses...



...replete with a huge bar/counter...



...a colorful tile floor that shows where the barstools used to be mounted...



...leather booths...



...and some natural wear and tear.



Overall, it's in great shape despite its age, and much to my relief, it has not been modernized, but rather simply...cleaned.



Though the space is available for rental for special events (dream wedding, here I come)...



...unfortunately estimates to get it up to code to resume commercial use range in the millions...



...as evidenced by the dark, antiquated kitchen...



...which I'm sure is functional, but sure seems foreboding.









The space has its glitzier features, like the tiled and mirrored Powder Room...



...and the lushly boothed bar, which appeared modern enough to be a part of the TWA Flight Center at JFK in NYC.



Fred Harvey's restaurant is a jewel of Union Station, and it's too bad that most people never get to see more than what they can peer at from outside the gate. But I guess that's why it's still in such good shape.



Update: Last we heard, 213 Hospitality had signed a 20-year lease on the space and renovated it to reopen as a brewpub. As of July 2018, it appeared to be still under construction, the windows covered in opaque plastic to keep curious onlookers away.

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Photo Essay: Union Station, Open to the Public