The Laurel Luncheonette

The Laurel Luncheonette has been a Long Beach icon since I can remember. When I was growing up, my family and I would go there for special family dinners. My mother would talk about how she would go there as a young woman and meet my dad there for dates. If we were lucky, we would go to a movie next door after dinner.

My grandparents loved the place too. They would go there for breakfast on Sunday mornings.  When my grandmother was too sick to get out of the house, I remember seeing my grandfather there sometimes with or without my uncle.

When I was a teenager, I used to spend a lot of time there with my friends.  The thing I remember most was the burger delights and of course, the wide assortment of candy.

The Laurel Luncheonette is still in Long Beach on the corner of Laurelton Blvd and Park Avenue.  The movie theatre isn’t there any longer. It closed down years ago and a CVS Pharmacy replaced it.

The other day, my sister came into town and asked if I wanted to go to the Laurel Luncheonette. I said sure.

We drove down toward the west end and found a spot immediately. We walked in and it was extremely crowded. We waited and waited.

“I just want one of those delicious burgers,” she said to me. “You know what, while we’re here, I’m going to call our uncle and see if he wants to meet us.”

She dialed our uncle, who still lives in the house his parent’s built in the 1950’s, and left him a message to stop by.  My sister doesn’t live local any longer and for her to go to the Laurel Luncheonette was a real treat.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to be,” the young woman who was seating people said to us.

“Why don’t we go across the street,” I said, “there’s another diner there.” (A few years back, as the story goes, the chef and key employees decided to open their own restaurant and compete head to head with the Laurel. I don’t really know if that story is true but that’s what everyone says.)

“I really don’t want to,” she told me, “but I’m starving so let’s go.”

She called our uncle back and told him where to go.

We walked across the street and ordered eggs. As we were sipping our coffee and munching on the eggs, my uncle walked through the glass door.

“Hey,” he said happy to see us. “This place is no good. The Laurel is still amazing after all these years.  That’s why you can’t get in. This place is used as the spillover.”

We talked, ate our eggs and wondered if the food at the Laurel was as good as we remembered.

One Comment

  1. Lisa

    That’s really neat. There is a place in Rochester like this too. Makes me miss home!

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