The Dresden RestaurantOct 7th, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
A couple of months ago I was flipping through one of my favorite stalking tomes, Hollywood Escapes: The Moviegoer’s Guide to Exploring Southern California’s Great Outdoors, when I came across a blurb written about the legendary Dresden Restaurant in Hollywood. And while I had actually eaten at the Dresden once before upon first moving to Southern California almost a decade ago, at the time I had no idea it was a filming location! So, I immediately called up the Grim Cheaper and begged him to take me there that very night. But being that we were just a few weeks away from our upcoming nuptials at the time, he quickly put a nix on my plans with the caution that “we shouldn’t be spending money right now”. I acquiesced, but have been itching to stalk the place ever since. Thankfully, the two of us finally made it out there for dinner two weeks ago, with the GC pretty much kicking and screaming the entire way. But as it turned out he absolutely LOVED the place – and the $32 dinner bill that came at the end of the night. Yes, you read that right – our dinner, including one cocktail a piece, was only $32! We ended up eating in the Dresden’s bar area and ordering up a smorgasbord of happy hour items, including French onion soup and quesadillas, and, let me tell you, the food was not only INCREDIBLE, but the serving sizes were absolutely HUGE. The staff there was also amazingly nice and answered all of my silly little questions about the extensive filming that has taken place there over the years. All in all, it was quite the successful stalk and I honestly cannot say enough good things about the place!
The Dresden has been a Hollywood staple since it first opened in the 1950’s. A paint store originally occupied the premises, but the space was converted into an eatery named Pucci’s Cafe sometime in the late 1930s. It later became known as the Dresden Room, named so for the china dolls which decorated the restaurant interior. In 1954, a man named Carl Ferraro purchased the restaurant along with his wife, Sara, and remodeled it twelve years later. The interior has been left virtually untouched since that time and walking through the front doors is like stepping back in time a good fifty years. One look at the restaurant and it is easy to see why the place has become a favorite of location scouts.
The Dresden’s most memorable film appearance was in the 1996 flick Swingers, in the scene in which Mike (aka Jon Favreau) meets and makes a fool of himself in front of Nikki (aka The Replacements’ Brooke Langton), his neighborhood Starbucks barista.
The scene also showcased the Dresden’s legendary long-running musical act, Marty and Elayne, who have been playing at the restaurant nightly since 1982.
Ironically enough, the big fight scene in Swingers, which supposedly takes place outside of the Dresden’s rear entrance, was actually filmed a few miles away in the parking lot of the famous Musso & Frank Grill in Downtown Hollywood. The Dresden’s real life rear entrance is shown above. For the scene, the producers covered over Musso’s back awning with the word “Dresden” . . .
. . . but forgot to cover over Musso’s “Oldest in Hollywood” sign, which can blatantly be seen in the background during the fight.
In 1990’s The Two Jakes, the Dresden was used as the Green Parrot night club where J.J. Jake Gittes (aka Jack Nickolson) meets up with Tyrone Otley (aka Tracey Walter).
In the 1996 flick That Thing You Do, the Dresden stands in for the Blue Spot jazz club where Guy ‘Shades’ Patterson (aka Tom Everett Scott) meets musician Del Paxton (aka Bill Cobbs).
In the 2000 romantic comedy What Women Want, the interior of the Dresden was used as the Chicago-area Back Door piano lounge where Nick Marshall (aka Mel Gibson) and Darcy Maguire (aka Helen Hunt) meet up for a late night drink. The restaurant was re-decorated considerably for the filming, with white twinkle lights being added to the walls and mirrors being added to the back of the booths.
The Dresden was transformed into the Escupimos en su Alimento (which translates to “We Spit in Your Food” LOL) Mexican restaurant for the 2004 flick Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
And while The X-Files also shot scenes at the Dresden at one point in time, I am not sure of exactly which episode it appeared in. Supposedly the restaurant was also featured in Bugsy, but I scanned through that flick earlier today and did not see the Dresden pop up anywhere.
The Dresden has also long been a celebrity magnet and even boasts an extensive headshot wall-of-fame at its front entrance to prove it. Just a few of the luminaries who have dined there over the years include Dolly Parton, Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Adam West, Danny Aiello, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, David Lynch, Frank Sinatra . . .
. . . “Thriller” director John Landis . . .
. . . and fellow stalker Owen’s main squeeze Jennifer Love Hewitt.
I honestly cannot recommend stalking the Dresden enough! When people say that L.A. has no history, it is places like this that I think of. I cannot tell you how cool it was to be dining at a restaurant that has not only been in operation for over five decades, but also boasts an extensive film resume and has seen the likes of everyone from Frank Sinatra to Julia Roberts walk through its doors. If that’s not history, I don’t know what is!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Dresden Restaurant is located at 1760 North Vermont Avenue in Hollywood. You can visit the restaurant’s official website here.