What Makes The Oldest Restaurant In Hollywood So Special

The charming thing about Musso & Frank Grill is not just how old it is — the restaurant claims an opening date of September 27, 1919, so it turns 103 years old in September of 2022 — but how little everything seems to change. The Hollywood-based restaurant made news last fall because, according to the Los Angeles Times, it was adding new dining rooms for the first time since 1955. That's how rarely the place changes. Dwight Eisenhower was the president the last time Musso & Frank made a major update to the space.

There have been few changes in that 100 years, except for ownership changing hands. As the restaurant's history page notes, the restaurant originally opened as a collaboration between restaurateurs Frank Toulet and Joseph Musso, with French chef Jean Rue put in charge of the kitchen, which he ruled for the next 53 years, and where he created the timeless menu. A new ownership duo, John Mosso (no relation to Musso) and Joseph Carissimi, took over in 1927. Mosso's grandchildren and their children continue to run the restaurant today. Other than that, the only other change of note was when the restaurant moved exactly one door down, from the original location at 6669 Hollywood Blvd. to 6667 Hollywood Blvd.

But let's be honest: what makes Musso & Frank Grill special isn't so much its own history, but its history with Hollywood film stars and celebrities.

Over 100 years of serving Hollywood stars

Musso & Frank Grill hasn't just served food to generations of Hollywood royalty, they've woven them into the tapestry of the restaurant's history.

"The [Charlie] Chaplin booth is the only table with windows that look outside. He used to race his horses down the road, usually with Rudolph Valentino. They would tie their horses up and he could watch them from the table," current owner Mark Echeverria (a descendant of Mosso) told The Hollywood Reporter. "Steve McQueen famously sat at the counter. He would sit in the first seat [on the Hollywood Boulevard side], and you'll see this groove on the wall."

Frank Sinatra had his own table, although now John Travolta is its most famous occupant, The Hollywood Reporter notes. Whichever generation of movie stars one favors, odds are they've dined at Musso & Frank Grill, they had a favorite table, and certainly a favorite member of the waitstaff. The waiters at the restaurant are legendary for their long tenures, and for the celebrities who invariably ask for them. Rolling Stones guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, for example, always ask for waiter Sergio Gonzalez, per The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition to the movie stars and rock stars, the restaurant has also been a favorite of writers. According to NPR, the Screen Writers Guild was once located across the street, leading to frequent visits from literary luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, and William Faulkner.