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Formosa Cafe

7156 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA

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History has a way of getting fuzzy fast and the history of the Formosa Cafe is doing all it can to maintain that pattern. There seems to be general agreement that the place started out as the Red Post Cafe in the mid-1920s. Between then and the mid-1940s things get a little fuzzier, but the 1901 trolley was apparently added to the cafe in 1939 or so.

The trolley car is still there standing along Formosa Avenue, just around the corner from the cafe entrance. Turns out it is the last remaining example of it's kind so restoring it has meant studying old photos and such and having parts from scratch.

What doesn't seem fuzzy at all is that the place was a favorite hangout for some of Hollywood's big names, probably because it is directly across the street from a large historic movie studio that opened a few years before the Red Door Cafe.

The cafe almost didn't make it this far in time, but thanks to a dedicated group called "Friends of the Formosa" and others it avoided being torn down and replaced by a parking ramp in 1991. The proposed ramp was for the studio that had provided the cafe with so many famous customers over the years. The cafe closed in 2016 for restoration and reopened in early 2019. It was designated a cultural resource in early 2019.

Photo(s): 2015



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.