Where was the first Denny's?

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downeysitesaver
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Where was the first Denny's?

Postby downeysitesaver » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:55 pm

I have always thought that the first Denny's (originally Danny's Donuts) was in Lakewood, CA. There is an original building (currently Florida restaurant) in Downey on Lakewood Bl. just north of the oldest operating McDonald's that others say was the first Denny's. Was it the first one called "Denny's"? Can someone help clarify?

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Postby deanna b » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:55 am

No idea about the Downey or Lakewood Denny's, but just for reference, Alan Hess' book says that the little Denny's in Westchester at Manchester and Bellanca is the "earliest operating Denny's," built in 1957.
http://g.co/maps/dhm46
Not the first one ever, but it's the oldest one still operating and might be a good example of the size and shape of the early Denny's, before the classic boomerang roof.

ETA: That might, in fact, be the first Denny's. Not sure that roof is original, though. But it does have the same footprint as Manchester/Bellanca.

http://www.octhen.com/2007/07/history-o ... aurant.htm

My first wife and I moved from Clovis Ca (near Fresno) to Orange in 1960. Her uncle was one of the founders of Denny's Coffee shops. They were called Danny's at that time. The first one was at Florance and Lakewood in Downey. Her uncle was in charge of the building part and I worked as a framer for them. I helped build three of them. One in Gardena,One in Lancaster, and one in San Bernadino. We lived on Pepper street in Orange. Danny's at that time had a little donut shop in the right hand corner where you could stop at a window and order Donuts or go inside to the coffee shop area. [...] During that time for corporate reasons they changed the name to Denny's My wife's uncle was not only corporate but he and his wife owned the franchise for the one in Downey and also the one on White Lane in Bakersfield. Harold Butler was the main man I guess he was the CEO he even owned Ceasers Palace in Las Vegas for 48 hours in a stock manipulation. Those were the good old days. Ward Hollesen wardjh@hughes.net

By Ward Hollesen, at May 29, 2007 11:23 PM


The Denny's on Rosemead/Lakewood Blvd. just north of Florence Ave. on the west side and on a strangely tapered piece of property wasthe first one I was aware of. It was about 300 feet north of the MacDonald's on the southwest corner of Lakewood and Florence. Is the 5520 South St. address in the city of Lakewood presently occupied by a Denny's the site of the first one? Rex saylor7@centurytel.net


Denny's says that the first Denny's was *IN* Lakewood, but this makes it look like it was *ON* Lakewood.

Here's the Florida restaurant. Look to the left to see McDonald's.
http://g.co/maps/gexd3

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Postby nichols » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:10 pm

Store #1 was called Danny's Donuts and it opened in 1953 and is supposed to be in the city of Lakewood. The store ON Lakewood in Downey was built in 1958. Their second store was in Garden Grove and by 1956 they opened an office there. By 1959 the #2 store (Garden Grove) was the earliest one listed by the company on promotional material. The #1 store may have lasted only a short time. I'm working on this. Hang tight.

Image
Armet & Davis rendering of the prototype used for the Downey store. There is also one in Covina that is in much better condition.
Last edited by nichols on Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nichols
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Postby nichols » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:15 pm

The Bellanca Avenue store opened in 1959.
Here's a rendering from Armet & Davis.

Image

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Dunno if it was the first but

Postby modfan » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:05 am

It musta been one of the early ones in Pomona next to (then) Boys Market
at Holt and Indian Hill.

I remember that originally there was mini golf course next door, they demo'd it circa late 1950's and built a Danny's then later as in the other comments they changed the signage to put both and a and e vertically so that it had both then later became a Denny's and now it's not even that any more and the Boys is an El Super.

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Postby nichols » Tue May 15, 2012 1:18 pm

OK, phew! I figured it out. Store #1 opened on Friday, July 30th, 1954. It was located at 4917 Bellflower Blvd. Here, I made a short film to help explain the history.

http://www.lamag.com/askchrisblog/bloge ... D=10382675


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