This Hollywood Supermarket Used To Be An Iconic Restaurant

In Southern California, gourmet grocery shopping is characterized by food stores like Whole Foods and Erewhon — where the organic produce is organized by color, the walls are lined by refrigerators showcasing rainbows of fresh juices, and you'll wait up to half an hour to get a pre-made lunch from the food bar. But at Bristol Farms, fresh and good tasting food isn't their only mission. Since 1982, Bristol Farms' food markets have expanded to fourteen different store locations — all serving their goal of becoming the "theatre of retail," per their mission statement. But no other location exemplifies this as well as their West Hollywood store.

Along Doheny Dr. and Beverly Blvd., Bristol Farms' WeHo market (pictured above) welcomes you with a grand entrance and classic architecture. But, once you step inside its doors, your grocery shopping experience is elevated by the presence of history that transports you into a time capsule of old Hollywood. The same parking lot where stars like Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani, and Samuel L. Jackson are paparazzi-ed pushing their shopping carts today was once the setting for the stars of old Hollywood to park their cars and enjoy a meal at one of the city's most legendary restaurants: Chasen's.

Chasen's was an old-school Hollywood hotspot

Chasen's, originally Chasen's Southern Barbecue Pit, opened its doors in 1932, according to Wehoville. What started as a small six-table rib parlor quickly grew a list of big-name regulars. Thanks to stars like Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, and Charlie Chaplin, the restaurant was able to expand. Within one year, the menu grew to more than 35 items. Chasen's quickly developed a reputation for its tableside Caesar salads, enormous seafood platters, thick-cut hobo steak, and the buffet that featured beluga caviar. As the menu grew, so did the names of the restaurant's guests, many of whom had their own permanent booths, including President Ronald Reagan — who got down on his knee to propose to Nancy Reagan at Chasen's in 1952.

Dave Chasen and his wife Maude ran the restaurant until his death in 1973. Maude ran it herself until 1995, when she retired and closed the restaurant. While many of the reserved booths, artwork, and decor were auctioned off as memorabilia after, a few of the originals remain. At Bristol Farms, you can still find a plaque beside the restaurant's original entrance, and several of the high-back leather booths that sat some of old Hollywood's elite tucked away beside the market's cafe, per Los Angeles Magazine. Not only can you grab breakfast or lunch before you do your grocery shopping, but you can place a special order through the catering department for Chasen's original, and top-secret, chili — which Elizabeth Taylor famously had shipped to her on set while filming "Cleopatra" in Rome during the 1960s.