Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Huddle Restaurants – Googie Symbols of California

Written by Christopher • December 2nd, 2014
Huddle Restaurants – Googie Symbols of California

Huddle was a chain of coffee-shops and restaurants primarily located around California. Designed around the ever so popular and playful Googie-type theme that was found all over the state in the 1950s and 1960s. Bold and colorful lettering, shapes and swirls and patterns that was meant to be a reference to space-age living. But, what happened to them?

Huddle was the brainchild of entrepreneur Paul Cummins, whose original ideas and vision spawned some of the most intriguing and enjoyable dining and entertainment venues Los Angeles has ever seen. Cummins was also responsible for The Sports Page, The Gay 90s and The Roaring 20s restaurants.

The information about the Huddle restaurants is however sparse. I have tried to dig around but not much comes up. The first thing I stumbled upon is something called Huddle House, which still operates today with a large chain of diner-styled restaurants in the southern United States. However, it appears that even with their familiar name they have no relation to the original Huddle restaurants.

Looking at the sketches of the restaurants we can make out the name Armet & Davis. The two men are responsible for more Googie styled restaurants and coffee shops than any other firm of the time. Denny’s, Sambos and Big Boy are excellent examples of their work. This was the agency to go to for Googie design in mid-century America. In fact, Armet and Davis are still in business today, although under their new name Armet Davis Newlove.

So, how come there’s not more information about Huddle available? You would think ultra cool, design landmarks like these buildings would have made a bigger footprint on the Interwebs. What happened with these restaurants? Are any of the buildings still intact? If anyone of you know more about the fate of the old Huddle restaurants, do share in the comments below.

Source Synthetrix   

Above: Huddle Bundy, Los Angeles. Opened in 1955 and located on the street from the Santa Monica Airport on Bundy Drive. The Sky Room which offered patrons a view of the planes landing resembled an aircraft control tower. — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle La Cienega, Beverly Hills. Opened in 1952 and is another great early design by architects Armet & Davis. — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle, southwest parking area of Eastland Center — Courtesy of Gorden Ayres

Above: Unknown Huddle restaurant

Above: Huddle La Cienega, Beverly Hills.

Above: Some of the Huddle sketches from Armet & Davis — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Huddle Bundy sales brochure — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Above: Two Huddle matchbook designs — Courtesy of Synthetrix

Christopher

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher

  • Ron C

    The first color photo above, which is indicated as “unknown,” was probably at the Eastland Shopping Center in West Covina, California.

    This web page has some information about that shopping center (scroll about halfway down):
    http://mall-hall-of-fame.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

    Also, the B&W video appears to be of that Huddle.

  • Thank you for pointing that out Ron!

  • Ddad99

    Several Huddle’s were located in Indianapolis.

  • Mark Nohner

    The Ink Spots played for years at our Huddle Restaurant in the Eastland Shopping Center. As a kid (12-15) I would sit at the bar entrance and try to listen over the din of the 10 freeway that it backed up to. Great memories….

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