When I first made prints of this painting, and posted it on my website, I also posted a bit about it’s history and location, but it was incorrect. I then received this email from Mike Johnson who gave me a heads up, and the correct information. Thanks Mike.
I love your work, but think you may have been given some bad information regarding the Toed Inn. “The Toed,” as we called it, first existed on Channel Rd. in Santa Monica Canyon. This restaurant was literally “washed to the sea” in the torrential rains and flood of 1938. It was not re-opened at this location. No ’40 or ’41 Willys here. Sometime afterwards, owner Ben Rosenthal re-opened the business on the S/W corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Saltair in West L.A (12008 Wilshire Blvd.). This is the one that is represented in your artwork and it existed only until the early ’50’s, when it was remodeled and became Ben’s, a popular restaurant for some years. To be real picky, both Toed Inns were long gone by the time a Willys was considered acceptable for anything other than cheap transportation.
The only photos of the Toed Inn I have recently seen are in the book CALIFORNIA CRAZY and one caption is incorrect. The one addressed 12008 is the “second” Toed Inn (Wilshire Blvd.). Surprisingly, the building is still there and it is still a restaurant (California Wok). At least one of the background buildings in the photo is still there too. Gotta look carefully, but it’s there.
I well remember the hamburgers from the “second” Toed Inn. Everything (meat, buns, onions) was cooked or toasted together on the griddle, a standard treatment of the day. All then wrapped in wax paper. Smokey, moist, unhealthy, and GREAT !! My friend Doug often walked his dog to the back door and would get a handout “for the dog”. He says the ribs were delicious.
Keep up the good work and Best Wishes,