Any visit to Hollywood is usually associated with places like Pink’s Hot Dogs and the Brown Derby. But for me, it is the Musso and Frank Grill. An enterprising fellow by the name of Frank Toulet (not toilet), met up with a Oregonian by the name of Joseph Musso, and an erstwhile French chef (must have been lost) named Jean Rue. They opened a restaurant that became famous for great food and even better service.
If you get to sit in a booth, you feel the original well-worn leather seats, 90 year old seats I might add. It was back in 1919 that Frank and Musso got together to form this great partnership. And get this! The first pay phone in all of Hollywood was located here. This is where the deals were made. This is where Sinatra was chosen to be in “From Here to Eternity.” The mahogany bar is still the original. Pretend you are standing there with Cecil B. DeMille or Gene Autry, take your pick!
Just remember, these classic places do not last forever. Remember the closure of the Pink Pony in Scottsdale? Or how about a few closer to home, like Chez Marguerite, or Ernie’s? Roast duck and lamb chops are still on the menu. Order a big cab to go with it.
This place also became a literary hangout in the 1930s. During this time, studio executives began to recruit the great American authors to “Hollywood.” Who might they be? How about F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Raymond Chandler, all considered Musso’s to be their second home. Wild Willie Faulkner actually met his mistress of 20 years here. Others in this group were William Saroyan of Fresno, T. S. Elliot, Aldous Huxley, Max Brand, John Steinbeck, and Dorothy Parker. More contemporaries showed up too, like Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, and Charles Bukowski.
Musso and Frank is located in Hollywood at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard. I am certain you will feel the ghosts of famous patrons like Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart, Groucho Marx, and Gary Cooper. Chaplin’s favorite dish was roasted lamb kidneys (yuck!).
Does it count that I know a distant relative? Hello Don Musso of Alameda!